WASHINGTON, D.C. (SUBMITTED) – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) joined Senate colleagues Thursday in announcing the Gas Price Reduction Act. Corker is a member of the Senate Republican Energy Working Group which has been working for several weeks on this comprehensive legislation to increase energy supplies, while decreasing demand.
“Freeing up domestic oil production in the U.S., accompanied with a strong sense of urgency in developing new technologies, will send a powerful signal to the markets that we are working to increase supplies while decreasing demand and should have an immediate impact on easing prices at the pump for Tennesseans.
“We don’t have the luxury of relying on a silver bullet to meet our energy needs, so our bill encourages several approaches that include alternative vehicle technologies and domestic resources.
“I am sincerely anxious for the day, hopefully in our very near future, when most Americans will be driving affordable vehicles powered by electricity and other non-petroleum-based technologies, but while we’re transitioning to this promising future does it not make sense to use our own oil reserves rather than shipping billions of dollars overseas to countries that would do us harm? Presently, this dependence is resulting in a massive transference of wealth and accumulation of trade deficits for our country, and unless we make changes we will be even more dependent on this volatile region. I support environmentally friendly offshore oil production because I believe it is a bridge to the future while we invest in alternative energy technology. The reality is we cannot make the transition to alternatives overnight.
“A great deal of attention has been given to the possible role of speculation in the oil markets. I believe it’s important to strengthen our U.S. futures markets to ensure the markets are not being manipulated, and for that reason, this bill provides the Commodity Futures Trading Commission with 100 additional employees to increase market surveillance and collect data to maximize transparency and ensure the integrity of the markets. Since the CFTC was created in 1974, the volume on futures exchanges has grown 8,000 percent while CFTC staff has decreased 12 percent. Adding 100 employees to the CFTC will be akin to adding 100 cops on the beat.”
Senator Lamar Alexander said:
“Christy Long in Maynardville, Tennessee, is just one of 600 Tennesseans who have written me their stories about how high gasoline prices are hurting American families, budgets, and jobs. Christy is a diabetic. She works at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. She is having trouble paying for her insulin shots due to the rising gas prices. She says: ‘Gas for work or insulin to live. That is the decision I have had to make several times daily.’
“That is why 44 Republicans are today introducing the Gas Price Reduction Act of 2008.
“We urge the Democratic leadership of the Senate to take up this legislation immediately, and after July 4 stay on it the entire month if necessary – or until we get a result that will begin to stabilize and lower gasoline prices.
“Our bill can be summed up in four words: ‘Find more, use less.’
“‘Find more’ means we would increase U.S. production by one third through offshore exploration and western states’ oil shale. This will over time produce at least 3 million barrels a day.
“‘Use less’ means we would reduce imported oil by one third by making it easier for millions of Americans to drive plug-in electric cars and trucks. This will over time reduce Americans use of oil by 4 million barrels a day.
“We would also discourage speculation driving up oil prices by putting more cops on the beat in the regulatory agencies.
“We have many other proposals for finding more and using less oil and will offer them in the July debate—but just these four steps will put America clearly on a course toward lower gas prices, more energy independence, and would stop sending billions of dollars overseas to buy oil from countries who are supporting terrorists.
“This will take time, but today is the day to begin. President Kennedy did not shy away from asking our country to take ten years to go to the moon. President Roosevelt knew it would take years to build a bomb to win a war. We need to start today to make sure our grandchildren ten years from now do not face the same energy crisis that we face today. And from the day we show that determination, speculators will become nervous, oil producing countries will become realistic, and the price of gasoline will stabilize.
“Our 44 co-sponsors are Republicans, but we want and our proposal deserves bipartisan support.
“To find more oil, we have deliberately included some provisions—like offshore exploration and oil shale—that a few Democratic senators have supported and left out others—such as exploration in Alaska—that Democrat senators have trouble supporting.
“To use less oil, we have centered on a proposal—plug-in electric cars and trucks—that we believe has broad bipartisan support.
“Unfortunately, most Democrats still insist on trying to repeal half the law of supply and demand.
“Instead of economics 101, we might call this new theory ‘Obamanomics’
“When we say, offshore exploration, they say no we can’t.
“When we say, oil shale development, they say no we can’t.
“When we say, more nuclear power for clean electricity to power plug-in cars and trucks, they say no we can’t.
“They would rather our country beg other countries to explore for oil when the United States is the third largest producer of oil and should make its own contribution to increasing the world supply.
“Republicans will do BOTH – find more oil and use less—and we intend to work hard and in good faith to find a way to for Democrats to say, ‘yes we can’ to finding more oil, as well as using less.
“The American people don’t want to see us up here talking trash.
“They want to see us getting results.
“Otherwise, the price of gasoline will continue to go up and Democrat inaction will continue to hurt the American people.
“Then the week we return we should schedule a press conference every day on the following and call on the Senate to spend all of its time on gas prices until we get a bipartisan result on ‘find more, use less’:
* “Gas Price Reduction Act of 2008 –Renew the call for our basic proposal
* “Nuclear – more clean American electricity by adding 45 new nuclear plants by 2030 as proposed by Senator McCain
* “Coal to liquids for the military – a proven technology that will use less oil within 2-3 years and improve national security as proposed by Senator Domenici
* “Conservation – the federal government would set the example by using 2 percent less oil as proposed by Senator Warner
* “ANWR – the fastest way to produce one million new barrels of oil a day of American oil as proposed by Senators Murkowski and Stevens
* “Clean Coal – invest $2 billion a year for ten years for carbon capture and clean coal as proposed by Senator McCain.”
(Information Submitted by the offices of Sen. Bob Corker and Sen. Lamar Alexander.)