U.S. Senator Tina Smith’s Statement on the Need for Energy Independence in Response to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

WASHINGTON, D.C. [03/03/22]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) released the following statement on the need for energy independence as we face rising energy prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:

“The tragic events playing out in Ukraine drive home just how important it is to cut ourselves free of the global oil and gas market. The dramatic spike in global fossil fuel prices caused by this unprovoked war demonstrate the damage that can be done to the pocketbooks of American families when our energy supply hinges on the whims of autocratic leaders. Putin uses his oil and gas as a source of cash and as a weapon, and Ukraine is paying the price for Putin’s control of the gas pipelines that supply Europe.  U.S. natural gas exports help, but there is no quick way to up our exporting capacity.  Energy prices are rising, and Russia is to blame.  If we can quickly get more gas to Europe, we should, but the medium to long term solution for Europe and America is to wean ourselves off of oil and gas. 

“There has been a lot of talk in the last week about the need for energy independence, and I agree.  But we can’t drill our way to energy independence. The best way to truly achieve energy independence is to move aggressively towards building out our clean energy.  Oil, and increasingly natural gas, are sold on a global market.  This means that no matter how much we produce at home, prices in the US are tied to the prices in the rest of the world.  So the only way to truly insulate ourselves from global supply and price shocks is to use less oil and gas.  Countries with nationalized industries and spare capacity, namely Russia and the OPEC nations, control global oil prices and they will never have the best interests of American consumers in mind.  On the other hand, no other country can tell us when the sun can shine or the wind can blow, which is why clean sources of energy are so powerful.

“The best way to achieve independence, enhance our competitiveness, and save people money is by building out clean energy.  We need to pass legislation to increase our supply of clean energy as fast as possible.”