Washington, D.C., May 22, 2008- U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, made the following statement during today’s hearing titled, “Oversight of the Bush Administration’s Energy Policy:”
“With gas prices rising through the roof, and signs that energy costs will rise even higher, now is the time for leadership.
“The Democrats today are calling for leadership from the administration. But it’s Congress’ job to make the important policy changes that will result in lower fuel and electricity costs.
“So far the Democratic leadership hasn’t taken that job seriously, especially when it comes to gas prices. Instead of solutions to the nation’s high energy prices, House leadership has given the American people the ‘Pelosi Premium.’
“Since taking control of Congress in January 2007, gas prices have risen more than $1.50 a gallon in Wisconsin under Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s watch, despite her promise of a ‘commonsense plan’ to lower gas prices.
“There’s been a lot of talk from the Democratic leadership about windmills and solar panels, but those technologies are better suited for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, not energy prices.
“A recent report from Secretary Bodman’s own Energy Information Administration shows that while solar power receives government subsidies totaling about $24 per megawatt hour and wind power receives about $23 in subsidies, coal power receives just 44 cents and natural gas gets just a quarter.
“While there are benefits to wind and solar power, coal and natural gas are the best options for expanding electricity production at reasonable costs. I think the American people’s number one energy priority for Congress is lowering fuel and electricity costs, and Republicans are committed to doing that.
“When it comes to gasoline, the Democrats have focused on fuel standards and ethanol. Higher fuel standards do have the potential to help lower fuel demand in the long run, but the American people need help now.
“Ethanol has caused more harm than good, as both food and gas prices continue to rise. That’s why I’m supporting legislation that will repeal the subsidies and tariffs for ethanol and end this boondoggle.
“And while the Democrats will blame energy costs on President Bush, the facts are clear. In the period between January 2001 and January 2007 – before the Democrats assumed leadership in Congress – gas prices rose 84 cents a gallon, which is a significant jump, but still nothing compared to the ‘Pelosi Premium’ of more than $1.50 in just 18 months.
“With neither a commonsense plan in sight from the Democratic leadership, nor an end to high gas prices, House Republicans are hearing the cries of the American people and putting forth our own plans, which truly are common sense.
“Republicans will expand production of American oil and gas, and do so in an environmentally-safe way. There are billions of barrels of untapped oil that can be recovered without harming the environment. Nearly 85 percent of the offshore oil and gas fields are untapped because Congress has placed them off limits.
“Additionally, we must expand refining capacity in the United States if we are going to continue to meet the surging demand for gasoline.
“The House Republicans’ broad plan will also encourage the expansion of nuclear power, which is a technology that stands to greatly improve U.S. energy independence and greenhouse gas reductions.
“House Republicans will also push for greater energy efficiency by supporting conservation tax incentives to Americans who make their homes, cars, and businesses more energy efficient.
“And despite their costs, House Republicans also know there are great benefits to solar, wind, hydroelectric and other sources of renewable energy, and will continue to support further development of these technologies.
“The primary difference between Republicans and Democrats on this issue is that House Republicans want to explore all options that are on the table, while Democrats want to pick winners and losers. That plan hasn’t worked in the past, and it won’t work now.
“House Republicans are pushing a plan that can help get energy costs under control. These are the kind of policies that the Democratic leadership should be supporting too. But, sadly, this kind of leadership is lacking in this 110th Congress, and for the sake of all Americans – Republican and Democrat – that’s a shame.”
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