U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) Tuesday led several of his Senate Republican colleagues in introducing the Food and Energy Security Act, legislation that would prohibit the Biden administration from forcing its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) agenda onto the American economy. Specifically, the bill would require federal financial and securities regulators to estimate the impact of their rules on affected businesses involved in the agriculture or energy supply chains. If any rules are estimated to drive up food, energy, or gas prices, the regulators would then be prohibited from implementing the rules during times of high inflation.

“Hard-working families across South Dakota are paying more for everything right now due to record-high inflation,” said Thune. “Instead of focusing on ways to bring down the cost of gas, food, and electricity, or developing an all-of-the above energy policy, the Biden administration continues to pursue a radical environmental agenda that threatens farmers’ and ranchers’ access to capital, increases production costs, and drives up prices at the pump. This legislation would not only prevent the administration from implementing rules that increase costs, but it would also require the administration to recognize that its actions – and the broader ESG movement – have real-world impacts that compromises our nation’s food and energy security.”

“Small businesses across America continue to be concerned about how rulemaking relating to the so-called ‘ESG movement’ could disqualify them from doing business with publicly traded companies,” said Kevin Kuhlman, vice president of federal government relations, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). “Such rulemaking could have a devastating effect on small businesses in numerous industries, but also the small business economy generally with increased prices for things like fuel and food products. The Food and Energy Security Act is commonsense legislation that requires an analysis of these concerns by federal regulators and prohibits certain rulemaking while inflation remains high. NFIB supports Senator Thune in this important effort.” 

“American families are suffering from rapid inflation across the country – increases in prices for food, electricity, gasoline and essential goods are at 40-year highs,” said Rich Nolan, president and CEO or the National Mining Association (NMA). “The Food and Energy Security Act works to ensure excessive regulations are not further contributing to this very real problem. The NMA appreciates the work of the Senate sponsors to provide relief for all Americans.”  

“Earlier this year, the Biden administration proposed a massive climate disclosure rule that will create new reporting burdens for every farm, ranch, and small business in the country. This plan will harm producers and consumers alike,” said Mary-Thomas Hart, environmental counsel at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). “NCBA is proud to support the Food and Energy Security Act because rules like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s emissions disclosure mandate add a costly burden to cattle producers, rural communities, and consumers across the country.”

The legislation was co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.).

Since President Biden was sworn into office, his administration has proposed rules and announced initiatives that would discourage banks, credit unions, and other financial firms from financing the fossil fuel industry and other sectors of the economy disliked by the far-left. In response to these efforts, in April, Thune raised concerns about the Biden administration’s use of the financial regulatory system to advance its radical environmental agenda under the guise of mitigating banks’ and credit unions’ exposure to climate risks.

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