The 25x'25 Initiative calls for the nation to meet 25 percent of its energy needs with renewable energy by the year 2025, while continuing to produce a safe, affordable and abundant supply of food, feed and fiber.
"South Dakota can and will play an important role in reaching the goal of 25 percent of our nation's energy coming from renewable energy," the governor said in remarks made in conjunction with the National Agricultural Biotechnology Council Conference at South Dakota State University. "Increasing America's renewable energy use will bring new technologies to the market and save consumers money; reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East; create good new jobs in rural America like South Dakota; and clean up the air and reduce carbon dioxide emissions."
Gov. Rounds said, "The expansion of renewable energy use will enable South Dakota's and other states' agricultural communities to play a vital role in the future prosperity and security of our great nation."
He also cited the state's role in the development of biofuels such as ethanol, noting that in 2006, South Dakotans purchased 430 million gallons of unleaded vehicle fuels, but also produced 522 million gallons of ethanol.
"For private passenger vehicles, South Dakota became virtually energy independent," the governor said. He added that he has issued an executive order that directs the use of a minimum of two percent biodiesel in all state diesel vehicles where it's available and cost-effective.
Bill Richards, co-chair of the 25x'25 Steering Committee, who was on hand for the governor's endorsement, applauded Gov. Rounds for "taking a leadership role among Americans who are facing one of their biggest challenges in decades: petroleum supplies that are vulnerable to disruption and fluctuating prices. However, Americans are meeting that challenge with a demand for renewable energy."
Richards said the promotion of renewable energy in South Dakota and elsewhere across the country is welcomed by an American public that supports it because "renewable energy comes from local resources, improves national security, creates jobs in rural America and in manufacturing, provides an endless supply of energy at stable prices, and reduces emissions that contribute to global warming."
U.S. Sen. John Thune said that as a strong supporter of a 25x'25 resolution now making its way through Congress, "I applaud Gov. Rounds for endorsing this vision. South Dakota is a leader in renewable fuel production and has abundant sources of solar, biomass and wind energy."
Sen. Thune said he looks forward "to continue working with Gov. Rounds and my colleagues in the Senate as we promote renewable energy production."
Tim Reich, a Belle Fourche rancher and conservationist, who is heading up the creation of a 25x'25 state alliance, welcomed Gov. Rounds' endorsement.
"The governor is helping to lift up the 25x'25 vision in South Dakota," Reich said. "He is also providing valuable leadership in bringing the efforts of both the private sector and state government together to focus on the importance of meeting 25 percent of our energy needs with renewables by 2025. I fully expect South Dakota to exceed those goals, since this effort is not only about a step toward energy independence, but is also about national security. It is also an unprecedented opportunity for rural development and stabilization of our rural economy. There just are no negatives in this big picture."
For more information on state 25x'25 alliance activities in South Dakota, contact Reich at 605-580-2393, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
To learn more about 25x'25, go to www.25×25.org.