Fuel Fight: Solutions from Bush, Durbin (rebuttal to Prez), Boehner, Seals, Pelosi, Schakowsky, Weller

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The problem: Gas pump sticker shock. Brewing as big political issue. Democrats all over it. “We have two oil men in the White House,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.)

Many officials weighing in today with plans to curb soaring gas prices…

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 25, 2006

President Bush’s Four-Part Plan To Confront High Gasoline Prices

Today, President Bush Discussed The Four Parts Of His Practical Plan To

Confront High Gas Prices. The President’s plan includes making sure

consumers and taxpayers are treated fairly, promoting greater fuel

efficiency, boosting our oil and gasoline supplies, and investing

aggressively in alternatives to gasoline, so we can eliminate the root

cause of high gas prices by diversifying away from oil in the longer

term.

America Is Addicted To Oil, And An Increasing Amount Of The Oil We Need

Comes From Foreign Countries. Some of the nations we rely on for oil

have unstable governments or agendas hostile to the United States.

These countries know we need their oil, and that reduces our influence.

We must not allow America to be put at risk by the unfriendly leaders of

foreign countries.

It Is Important To Understand Why Gas Prices Are High. The market for

oil is global, and America is not the only large consumer. Countries

like China and India are consuming more and more oil, so global demand

for oil is rising faster than global supply. As a result, oil prices

are rising around the world, which leads to higher gas prices in

America. America’s gasoline demand is projected to increase this

summer, and our refining capacity is stretched tight, making it

difficult for supply to keep pace with demand. To compound the problem,

we are undergoing a rapid change in our fuel mix – a transition from

MTBE to ethanol in certain fuel blends, and that transition is

temporarily pushing up gas prices even more.

The President’s Four-Part Plan To Confront High Gasoline Prices

Includes:

1. Ensuring That American Consumers Are Treated Fairly At The Gas Pump.

* Americans Will Not Accept Fraud Or Manipulation Of The Market,

And The President Will Not Tolerate It. The Federal Trade Commission

(FTC) is investigating whether the price of gasoline has been unfairly

manipulated since last year’s hurricanes. The President is also

directing the Department of Justice to work with the FTC and the

Department of Energy to conduct inquiries into cheating or illegal

manipulation related to current gasoline prices. The FTC and Attorney

General are contacting all 50 state attorneys general to offer technical

assistance and to urge them to aggressively investigate illegal price

manipulation within their jurisdictions.

* The President Calls On Congress To Repeal Certain Tax Breaks

That Are Unnecessary For Energy Companies. With oil prices at record

levels, energy companies have large cash flows – and energy companies

should reinvest their profits into expanding refining capacity,

researching alternative energy sources, developing new technologies, and

expanding production. Record oil prices and large cash flows also mean

that energy companies do not need unnecessary tax breaks like the

“geological and geophysical expenditure” depreciation acceleration

provision in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This unnecessary tax break

allows energy companies to rapidly depreciate costs related to oil

exploration. The President also calls on Congress to repeal the Energy

Policy Act provision subsidizing energy companies’ research into

deepwater drilling. The President is looking forward to Congress taking

about $2 billion of these tax breaks out of the budget over a 10-year

period of time.

2. Promoting Greater Fuel Efficiency.

* The President Calls On Congress To Make All Hybrid And Clean

Diesel Vehicles Sold This Year Eligible For Federal Tax Credits. An

immediate way for drivers to get more miles out of each gallon is to

choose a highly efficient hybrid or clean diesel vehicle. Hybrid

vehicles run on the combination of a traditional engine and an electric

battery. These twin sources of power allow hybrid cars and trucks to

travel about twice as far on a gallon of fuel as gasoline-only vehicles.

Clean diesel vehicles take advantage of advances in diesel technology to

run on 30 percent less fuel than gasoline vehicles. More than 200,000

hybrid and clean diesel vehicles were sold in the United States last

year – the highest sales in history. The Energy Policy Act President

Bush signed into law expanded the tax credit for purchasers of hybrid

and clean diesel vehicles to as much as $3,400, but these tax credits

apply to only a limited number of hybrid and clean diesel vehicles for

each manufacturer.

* A Proven Way To Conserve Gasoline Is To Reform Corporate Average

Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards. The Administration has reformed the way

the CAFE program determines standards for light trucks by emphasizing

the size of the vehicle. CAFE standards for light trucks have been

increased from 20.7 miles per gallon when the President took office to

24 miles per gallon in 2011. The President’s reforms bring CAFE

standards for light trucks to the highest level in the history of the

program – and they are helping American drivers save money at the pump.

3. Boosting Our Supplies Of Crude Oil And Gasoline.

* The President Supports Halting Deposits To The Strategic

Petroleum Reserve For A Short Period Of Time. The President has

directed the Department of Energy to defer filling the Reserve this

summer. Our Strategic Reserve is sufficiently large to guard against

any major supply disruption over the next few months. Deferring

deposits until the fall will leave a little more oil on the market – and

when supplies are tight, every little bit counts.

* The President Is Directing EPA Administrator Steve Johnson To Use

All His Available Authority To Grant Waivers That Would Relieve Critical

Fuel Supply Shortages – As He Did After Last Year’s Hurricanes. Under

Federal air quality laws, some areas of the country are required to use

a fuel blend called reformulated gasoline. This year, we are undergoing

a rapid transition in the primary ingredient in reformulated gas – from

MTBE to ethanol. State and local officials in the Northeast and in

Texas worry that supplies could run low. To ensure that there are not

needless restrictions to get gasoline to the pump, the EPA should be

able to meet the request of officials seeking to waive local fuel

requirements on a temporary basis. If Administrator Johnson finds he

needs more authority to relieve the problem, the Administration will

work with Congress to obtain the authority he needs.

* The President Is Also Directing Administrator Johnson To Bring

Together Governors To Form A New Task Force To Confront The Larger

Problem Of Too Many Localized Fuel Blends (Boutique Fuels). America’s

uncoordinated and overly complex set of fuel mixes raises the risk of

painful local price increases, even during only minor supply

disruptions.

* The President Calls On Congress To Allow Refiners To Make Minor

Modifications To Their Refineries Without Having To Endure Years Of

Delays In The Approval Process, And The President Also Calls On Congress

To Simplify And Speed Up The Permitting Process For Refinery

Construction And Expansion. The President asks Congress to cut through

the red tape and guarantee that refinery construction permits will be

processed within a single year. To boost America’s gasoline supply on a

large scale, we need to expand our oil refining capacity. There has not

been a new refinery built in America in 30 years. As a result, America

now imports about a million barrels of gasoline every day – that means

that about one of every ten gallons of gas Americans get at the pump is

refined in a foreign country. Part of the reason for this is that the

refinery permitting process in the United States is extremely

complicated.

* Congress Needs To Send The President A Bill This Year Authorizing

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Exploration. America has the

ability to explore for oil in environmentally responsible ways, and we

should make use of the ability. The Administration has taken steps to

increase access to offshore oil, and Congress should allow

environmentally sensitive oil exploration in ANWR.

4. Investing In Alternatives To Oil, So That We Can Dramatically Reduce

Our Demand For Gasoline.

* The President Calls On Congress To Support His Advanced Energy

Initiative (AEI). The AEI is focused on three of the most promising

ways to reduce gas consumption: increasing our use of ethanol, improving

hybrid vehicles, and developing hydrogen technology. The AEI will

strengthen our economy, our energy supply, and our national security.

* Renewable Fuels Producers Are Using One Of The World’s Oldest

Industries – Agriculture – To Power Some Of The World’s Newest

Technology. While the price of oil continues to go up, advances in

technology are bringing the price of alternative fuels down. Years of

investment in fuels like ethanol have put us on the threshold of major

breakthroughs. With a bold investment in alternative energy

technologies, we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

* Increasing Our Use Of Ethanol.

* Ethanol Has Tremendous Potential For Growth As An Alternative

To Gasoline. Any vehicle on the road can run on a fuel blend that

includes 10 percent ethanol. And with minor modifications, cars and

trucks can become “flex fuel vehicles” that run on a fuel blend called

E85 – a mix of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. About 40

percent of America’s gasoline now includes some amount of ethanol – and

that number is going to keep growing in the years ahead.

* Ethanol Is A Versatile Fuel Delivering A Wide Variety Of

Benefits. Ethanol is good for farmers because it provides a new market

for their products. Ethanol is good for rural communities because new

biorefinery construction creates jobs and local tax revenue. Ethanol is

good for the environment because it burns cleaner than gasoline and

produces less air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Ethanol is

good for drivers because it replaces gasoline consumption. And ethanol

is good for our whole Nation because every time we use homegrown

ethanol, we support American farmers and refiners – not foreign oil

producers.

* The Ethanol Industry Is Booming. Last year, America used a

record 4 billion gallons of ethanol – more than double the level when

the President took office. There are now 97 ethanol refineries in our

country. Nine of those are expanding, and 35 more are under

construction.

* President Bush Has Supported Ethanol More Strongly Than Any

President Before Him. Since the President took office, we have extended

the 51-cent-per-gallon tax credit for ethanol suppliers; created a new

10-cent-per-gallon tax credit to provide extra help to small ethanol

producers and farmers; provided about $85 million in loans or grants for

ethanol business ventures; and signed into law a Renewable Fuels

Standard that will nearly double the amount of ethanol in our fuel

supply over the next six years.

* Promoting Other Alternatives To Regular Gasoline.

* Researchers Are Pioneering Ways To Make A New Form Of

“Cellulosic Ethanol” From Natural Materials Like Wood Chips, Stalks, And

Switch Grass. The President has proposed $150 million in next year’s

budget for research into advanced forms of ethanol – a 65-percent

increase over current levels. Our goal is to make cellulosic ethanol

affordable within six years – and allow millions more drivers to put

ethanol in the tank.

* Biodiesel Fuel Can Substitute For Regular Diesel In Cars,

Trucks, Buses, And Farm Equipment. Like ethanol, biodiesel is

renewable, fully domestic, and a good way to support farmers and the

rural economy. The President signed into law the first-ever Federal tax

credit for biodiesel producers. Biodiesel refiners now receive 50 cents

for every gallon of biodiesel they blend.

* Engineers Are Designing A New Type Of “Plug-In Hybrid” That

Can Be Recharged Through A Standard Electrical Outlet. These hybrids

will have fully charged batteries as soon as you start the car, which

will allow them to travel much farther on electricity alone. Plug-in

hybrids could make it possible to drive 40 miles on electricity alone –

and that means millions of Americans could make their daily commute

without a drop of gasoline. The President’s budget for next year

provides $31 million to speed up research into advanced battery

technologies – a 27-percent increase over current levels.

Since 2003, The Administration Has Made Hydrogen And Fuel Cell

Technology A High Priority. When hydrogen is used in a device called a

fuel cell, it can deliver enough electricity to power a car that emits

pure water instead of exhaust fumes. The Administration has dedicated

$1.2 billion over five years to the research and development needed to

get hydrogen cars into the showroom.

############################################## # #

DEMOCRATS ANNOUNCE LEGISLATION TO HELP LOWER GAS PRICES

Washington, DC-With Americans across the country struggling under the

skyrocketing cost of gas, and with President Bush and his Republicans in

Congress offering no help to consumers, Democrats today unveiled a new

plan to ease the burden on America’s drivers with a 60 day holiday from

the federal gas tax.

“For years, Democrats have been fighting to get tough on Big Oil and

protect Americans from being exploited when they fuel their cars,” said

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. “Unfortunately, for years

Republicans have been more interested in protecting oil companies’

profits than the American people’s pockets. Now that gas prices are

skyrocketing and Americans are struggling just to fill their gas tanks,

Congress must act to ease the burden. Passing a federal gas tax holiday

and repealing the tax giveaways in the Bush energy bill is a good

start.”

The Menendez Federal Gas Tax Holiday Amendment, an amendment to the

Supplemental Appropriations Bill under debate in the U.S. Senate right

now, will give Americans immediate relief from gas prices right at the

pump by removing the $0.184 per gallon federal tax on gasoline and the

$0.244 per gallon federal tax on diesel for 60 days. To recover the lost

revenue, the amendment repeals huge and unnecessary subsidies for large

oil companies included in the Bush energy bill and other legislation and

handed out at a time when oil companies were enjoying record profits.

“Last year, the big oil companies hiked gas prices and blamed an act of

God, but it’s crystal clear that the current spike in gas prices is at

least partly due to an act of greed,” said Senator Menendez. “We must

provide American families immediate relief by suspending the federal gas

tax for 60 days and making up for the lost revenue by getting rid of

some unnecessary tax giveaways to oil and gas companies.”

Today’s announcement is the latest in Democrats’ continuing efforts to

protect the American people by punishing gas price gouging, ending

government hand outs to oil companies raking in record profits, and

ensuring Americans get the real security they deserve through energy

independence. A fact sheet on the new legislation is attached.

###

DEMOCRATS FIGHT TO PROVIDE IMMEDIATE RELIEF TO CONSUMERS

Offer a Federal Gas Tax Holiday

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is fighting to give immediate relief to

consumers during this summer’s busy driving season by providing a

Federal Gas Tax Holiday paid for by repealing over $6 billion in tax

breaks and giveaways to Big Oil. His amendment gives Americans

temporary and immediate relief from sky high gas prices directly at the

pump. It suspends the federal gas tax for 60 days to help reduce the

cost of gas and diesel for consumers. This amendment will provide $100

million dollars per day in relief directly to Americans.

A Federal Gas Tax Holiday. This amendment will provide more than $6

billion in relief directly to consumers by eliminating the federal tax

for both gas and diesel for 60 days. During the period of this gas tax

holiday, the cost of gas will be reduced by $0.184 per gallon and the

cost of diesel by $0.244 per gallon. Drivers will receive real relief

every time they go to the pump during this period.

Protects the Highway Trust Fund. Under this amendment, the Highway

Trust Fund will not lose one dime. Funds generated by reducing the tax

breaks and giveaways to Big Oil will be transferred to the Highway

Trust Fund in an amount equal to the revenues lost through the federal

tax holiday. The Highway trust fund will continue to collect the

revenues needed to continue all of the projects currently planned and

funded.

Big Oil Will Pay the Price. After reporting record profits of over $100

billion last year, Big Oil is the most profitable business in the world.

This amendment will provide direct relief to consumers and be fully paid

for by repealing three major tax breaks that Big Oil clearly does not

need and eliminating unnecessary and expensive royalty relief.

*Foreign Oil & Gas Foreign Tax Credit and Income. Under present

law, US companies can claim a foreign tax credit for taxes paid to

another country and not royalties and similar payments related to an

economic benefit. The provision denies foreign tax credits for payments

to a foreign country if the foreign country does not have a generally

applicable income tax.

*LIFO – Oil & Gas. Under current law, businesses are generally

permitted to use a last-in, first-out (LIFO) method to account for their

inventories. This allows companies to create a tax advantage during

times of rising prices. This proposal limits the tax benefits of this

LIFO method of accounting for integrated oil companies with gross

receipts in excess of $1 billion.

* Elimination of Amortization of Geological and Geophysical

Expenditures for Large Oil & Gas Companies. Eliminates the tax break

for accelerated depreciation for these expenditures for fully integrated

oil companies that was passed in the Energy Bill.

*Eliminates Royalty Relief and other Direct Spending. The

amendment also eliminates royalty relief and other direct spending for

oil and gas production incentives in Titles III and IX of the Energy

Policy Act of 2005 totaling approximately $700 million. In testimony

before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the major oil company CEOs

testified that they did not need these incentives.

###

OLE_LINK1OLE_LINK2FIVE QUESTIONS FOR NANCY PELOSI ABOUT RISING GAS PRICES

April 25, 2006

Nancy Pelosi and her Capitol Hill Democrats have fashioned an abysmal record

on energy issues that are important to the American public, yet now have the

temerity to complain about the strain of rising gas prices they are directly

responsible for.

It’s time for Nancy Pelosi and her band of Capitol Hill Democrats to answer

questions about their blatant obstruction and chronic negligence on energy

issues:

1.In the face of rising gas prices for working families, why have you

and your Capitol Hill Democrats consistently opposed measures designed to

increase supply of American energy?

2.With world energy prices rising because of increased demand, why did

124 of your House Democrats vote against the energy bill in 2005 to

encourage the expansion of clean nuclear energy supplies?

3.In the face of rising gas prices for Americans, why did 196 of your

House Democrats vote against a 2005 energy bill that would have streamlined

the process of refinery expansion and construction that is so critical to

the future of America’s energy infrastructure?

4.With gas prices for working Americans on the rise, why do you oppose

major labor organizations, such as the International Brotherhood of

Teamsters, who actively petition the Congress to increase domestic energy

supplies to create jobs for their workers?

5.In the face of rising gas prices for working families, why do you

and the Democrats continue to vote NO on every responsible proposal that

would put Americans to work producing more of our own American energy to

lower prices?

READ MORE:

*GOP

Leaders Take Action on Energy Prices to Safeguard Growing Economy (4/25/06)

Majority Leader’s Press Office

House Majority Leader John Boehner

H-107, The Capitol

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

*Wilmette**, **IL* With average gas prices rising to $3 per gallon in the

Chicago area this weekend (CNN, 4/23/06), Democratic congressional candidate

Dan Seals issued a call for a federal investigation of potential price

gouging by the oil and gas industries.

“American consumers need to know whether the exorbitant prices we’re seeing

at the gas pumps are inflated by dishonest profiteers seeking to take

advantage of an opportunity,” Seals said. “We’re hearing from families who

are having to make decisions about whether to fill their gas tank or pay

their bills.”

“Let’s look out for the interests of the consumers and businesses who are

taking the hit — not the oil companies who are reporting the record

profits. It’s time for our leadership in Washington to change their

priorities and face up to this growing energy crisis,” he continued.

Seals’ Republican opponent in the 10th District race, Congressman Mark Kirk,

voted against two bills last year that proposed a crackdown on oil company

and gas industry price gouging (HR3402 9/28/2005 Vote# 500,

HR3893 10/7/2005 Vote# 517). The measures would have provided the Federal

Trade Commission with the authority to investigate and prosecute those that

engage in this “predatory pricing,” with targets ranging from oil companies

to local gas stations.

Once reliably Republican, the 10th District has voted increasingly

Democratic since 1992. George W. Bush lost by four percentage points in 2000

and by six points in 2004. Democrats also dominate state and local offices.

*About Dan Seals*

Dan lives in Wilmette with his wife, Mia, and two young daughters. Born in

Chicago, Dan received a Master’s in public policy from Johns Hopkins School

of Advanced International Studies. Dan served as a Presidential Management

Fellow during the Clinton Administration in both the Department of Commerce

and Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s office. He went on to earn his MBA from the

University of Chicago and is on leave from his position as Director of

Marketing at GE Commercial Finance, as he campaigns full-time.

# # #

SCHAKOWSKY SAYS CONSUMERS NEED IMMEDIATE RELIEF AT THE PUMP, NOT BUSH’S

REDUNDANT PRICE GOUGING REPORTS

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky, a member of the House

Energy and Commerce Committee, released the following statement after

President Bush ordered that his Administration investigate price gouging at

the pump even though it was already doing so because of the leadership of

Democrats in Congress. The Energy Policy and the Science, State, Justice,

and Commerce Acts of 2005 directed the Federal Trade Commission to conduct

an investigation into price gouging. The investigation has yet to be

completed, and the results have yet to be released.

Schakowsky’s full statement is below:

“President Bush is taking cues for his energy policy from the movie

Groundhog Day. Instead of taking action to bring gasoline prices down as

they increase steadily at the pump, President Bush has called on his

Administration to investigate for price gouging yet again. Because the Bush

Administration has opposed Democratic attempts to give the FTC the authority

to hold oil and gas companies that price gouge accountable, this

investigation is simply another empty PR stunt that will provide no relief

to consumers.”

“Before the President took office and repeatedly since then, I called on him

to bring in his former colleagues from the energy industry to develop a

strategy to bring gasoline prices down. The President has ignored my

advice. Last week, I called on Vice President Cheney to bring a

reconstituted Energy Task Force before Congress to develop immediate plans

to bring prices down. I await his response.”

“It is time for the President to accept the Democrats’ efforts to give the

FTC the authority to hold oil and gas companies that price gouge

accountable, and to ensure that those companies do not make windfall profits

by charging consumers record prices. The American people need relief at the

pump, not redundant reports.”

###

Pelosi: With the Price of Gas Doubling During Bush Presidency, Big Oil Has

Won Big

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined House

Democratic Caucus Chair James Clyburn, Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan,

and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut at news conference today to

discuss skyrocketing gas prices and Democratic plans to address this issue.

Below are Pelosi’s remarks:

“When the oil men, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, strode into town, the

showdown began between big oil and the consumer. With the price of gas

doubling during the time of the President’s presidency, big oil has won big.

Prices have doubled, profits have tripled, and oil companies already are

making historic, obscene and record profits. And while they do that, the

Republicans in the Congress of the United States gave them billions of

dollars in subsidies. Even the Department of Energy said the Republican

energy bill would increase the price at the pump for America’s consumers.

“More than six months ago, Democrats, led by Congressman Bart Stupak of

Michigan, introduced legislation that gives the Federal Trade Commission

(FTC) explicit authority to investigate and prosecute companies engaged in

price gouging. Congressional Republicans voted three times against acting

on this Stupak legislation.

“Democrats, led by Congressman Brian Higgins of New York, introduced a bill

that would rescind billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for these oil

companies, roll back these subsidies, tax breaks, and royalty relief given

to big oil and big gas companies, and use those funds to help low-income

Americans, farms, and small-businesses struggling under the weight of gas

prices. And yes, the Republicans voted over and over against rolling back

the subsidies even after they knew the oil companies were making historic,

obscene, and record profits.

“It is Democrats, led by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who have a bill that

would require oil companies and refineries to disclose their prices to the

FTC in times of energy crisis. Democrats also have real plans that would

increase production of alternative fuels.

“These are bills we could have enacted months ago if Republican had joined

Democrats in protecting the American people instead of protecting big oil.

If Republicans had done that, today we would have had laws on the books

against gouging and excess profits, instead of record prices at the pump and

record profits.

“Today, we are renewing the call as we challenge our Republican colleagues

to join us in helping bring down the price of gas before Memorial Day

weekend. Let us say to the American people that we can be, although recent

history to the contrary, the government of the many, and not just the few as

President Bush and Vice President Cheney have been.

“Even the Chairman of the Federal Reserve agrees that gas prices are

decreasing the purchasing power of American families and depressing the U.S.

economy.

“Record prices for the American people; record giveaways and record profits

for big oil companies. That is the Republican energy policy, and Americans

can no longer afford it. All you have to do is drive down the street in

your car, see the price at the pump, and you know that Americans can no

longer afford George W. Bush as President and his Rubber Stamp Republican

Congress.”

# # ##############################################

In response to the President’s speech today before the Renewable Fuels

Association, the Senate’s Assistant Democratic Leader, Dick Durbin

(D-IL) made the following speech on the floor of the Senate:

SENATE FLOOR – APRIL 25, 2006

MR. DURBIN: MR. PRESIDENT, THIS MORNING THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED

STATES HELD A PRESS CONFERENCE AND ANNOUNCED THE FOLLOWING: “PRICES AT

THE PUMPS REFLECT OUR ADDICTION TO OIL.” PRICES AT THE GASOLINE PUMPS

REFLECT OUR ADDICTION TO OIL.

SO IT TURNS OUT IT’S OUR FAULT. IT TURNS OUT IT’S THE FAULT OF THE

CONSUMERS. IT’S THE FAULT OF FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES AND FARMERS THAT

THE PRICES ARE GONE SO HIGH.

I DON’T THINK SO.

I THINK THE PRICES AT THE PUMP REFLECT THE OIL COMPANIES’ ADDICTION TO

GREED.

LET ME GIVE YOU A CASE TO CONSIDER. LEE RAYMOND, C.E.O. OF EXXON,

RECENTLY RETIRED. DID HE GET A GOLD WATCH FOR HIS SERVICE TO EXXON? NO.

MR. RAYMOND WAS GIVEN A SEVERANCE PACKAGE OF $400 MILLION — $400

MILLION! AND THE PRICES AT THE PUMPS REFLECT THE CONSUMERS’

SHORTCOMINGS?

EXXONMOBIL RECORDED THE HIGHEST CORPORATE PROFITS IN THE HISTORY OF THE

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. MONEY WENT STRAIGHT FROM THE CREDIT CARDS OF

AMERICAN FAMILIES INTO THE BOARDROOMS OF EXXONMOBIL.

THEY REALIZED BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PROFIT AND THEY TURNED AROUND AND

GAVE MR. RAYMOND, AS A FAREWELL GIFT FOR HIS FINE TUTELAGE OVER THEIR

COMPANY — $400 MILLION AS A GO GOING-AWAY GIFT. AND THE PRESIDENT SAYS

THAT THE PRICE AT THE PUMP REFLECTS THE CONSUMERS’ ADDICTION TO OIL?

WHAT CHOICE DO CONSUMERS HAVE? YOU GO SHOP AROUND YOUR HOMETOWN, MAYBE

THERE’S SOME SLIGHT VARIATION FROM PUMP TO PUMP, GAS STATION TO GAS

STATION BUT IT IS PENNIES AT BEST. CONSUMERS REALLY HAVE NOWHERE TO

TURN.

WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE IS THE PRICE OF GASOLINE IS GOING UP SO FAST, SO

HIGH IT’S CREATING A HARDSHIP NOT JUST FOR FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS BUT

FOR AMERICA’S ECONOMY, FOR THE FARMERS THAT I REPRESENT TRYING TO PUT A

CROP IN THE FIELD, FOR BUSINESSES THAT DEPEND ON THE COST OF ENERGY AS

ONE OF THEIR INPUT COSTS. THAT’S A REALITY.

AND LET ME SAY TO THE PRESIDENT, THE PRICES AT THE PUMPS DON’T REFLECT

OUR ADDICTION TO OIL; THEY REFLECT A FAILURE IN LEADERSHIP BY THIS WHITE

HOUSE. IT HASN’T EVEN BEEN ONE YEAR — NOT 12 MONTHS — SINCE THE

PRESIDENT CEREMONIOUSLY SIGNED THE ENERGY BILL FOR AMERICA’S ENERGY

POLICY LAST AUGUST.

WHAT A GREAT BILL THAT’S BEEN. SINCE THAT BILL WAS SIGNED, WHAT’S

HAPPENED TO THE PRICE OF ENERGY AND HEATING OIL? ENERGY AND GASOLINE?

IT’S GONE UP DRAMATICALLY ACROSS AMERICA.

THAT BILL WAS A FAILURE. IT WAS A FAILURE BECAUSE THIS ADMINISTRATION

BELIEVES THAT THE FAULT AT THE PUMP IS THE FAULT OF THE CONSUMERS.

IT ISN’T. THE CONSUMERS HAVE NOWHERE TO TURN. THAT BILL THAT WAS PASSED

WAS AN OUTRAGE. THERE WERE SOME PROVISIONS IN IT THAT I SUPPORTED,

EXPANDING THE USE OF ETHANOL FUELS AND ALTERNATIVE FUELS. BUT THE BILL

ALSO CONTAINED MULTIBILLION DOLLAR SUBSIDIES TO THE OIL INDUSTRY, AT A

TIME WHEN THEY’RE ENJOYING RECORD-BREAKING PROFITS.

WE’RE GOING TO TAKE MONEY AWAY FROM TAXPAYERS AND GIVE IT TO THIS

INDUSTRY? WHAT IN THE WORLD COULD WE BE THINKING?

THE BILL ALSO HAD NO MEANINGFUL CONSERVATION EFFORT. HOW CAN WE BE

SERIOUS ABOUT AN ENERGY POLICY IN AMERICA IF WE AREN’T MOVING TOWARD

MORE FUEL-EFFICIENT CARS AND TRUCKS?

WE CONTINUE TO IMPORT OIL FROM OVERSEAS WITH ABANDON. WHY HASN’T THIS

ADMINISTRATION SET AS A GOAL FOR AMERICA THE PROPOSAL WE DEMOCRATS

ARGUED FOR ON THE FLOOR, AND THAT IS THAT WE WOULD REDUCE OUR DEPENDENCE

ON FOREIGN OIL BY MORE THAN 50% OVER THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS?

WE CAN DO IT. WITH THE VISION AND LEADERSHIP OF A WHITE HOUSE THAT IS

NOT WEDDED TO THE OIL INDUSTRY BUT WEDDED, RATHER, TO AN ECONOMY THAT IS

BEING AT THIS POINT SERIOUSLY DISADVANTAGED BY THE TERRIBLE INCREASES IN

GASOLINE PRICES.

SO WHEN THE PRESIDENT WANTS TO BLAME THE CONSUMER PULLING UP TO THE PUMP

FOR HIS ADDICTION TO OIL, I HAVE TO ASK, MR. PRESIDENT, WHAT HAVE YOU

DONE? WHAT HAS CONGRESS DONE? WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

AND LET ME SAY THIS, MR. PRESIDENT. DESPITE MY SERIOUS MISGIVINGS ABOUT

THE ENERGY POLICY OF THIS ADMINISTRATION, WHICH BELIEVES THE ANSWER TO

OUR PRAYERS IS TO DRILL FOR MORE OIL IN A WILDLIFE REFUGE IN ALASKA THAT

WE’VE PROTECTED FOR 50 YEARS, A REFUGE WHICH AT BEST WILL START

PRODUCING OIL IN TEN YEARS AND OVER ITS LIFE SPAN PRODUCE SIX MONTHS OF

ENERGY FOR AMERICA. IF THIS IS THE ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS, IS VERY

SHORTSIGHTED.

WE NEED TO COME TOGETHER. WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN THE REPUBLICAN

LEADERS IN CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES ARE SAYING,

WE BETTER CALL THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, I THINK SOMETHING IS GOING

WRONG AT GAS STATIONS AROUND AMERICA — EXCUSE ME.

WHY ARE THEY WAITING UNTIL ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES AND ALARMS ARE

SOUNDING TO FINALLY REALIZE THAT WE HAVE TO MOVE ON PRICE GOUGING AND

PRICE FIXING?

I THINK IT IS TIME WE HAVE A WINDFALL PROFITS TAX. WHEN EXXONMOBIL CAN

REALIZE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF PROFITS AT THE EXPENSE OF MILLIONS OF

AMERICAN FAMILIES, IT’S TIME TO STEP UP.

THE PRESIDENT TALKED ABOUT TAX CUTS FOR AVERAGE FAMILIES. HOW ABOUT

SENDING A MESSAGE THAT THE COMPANIES’ PRICE GOUGING WILL NOT GO WITHOUT

PENALTY? YOU WILL PAY PRICE FOR IT.

THOSE WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM THE WINDFALL PROFIT TAX WOULD BE THE

CONSUMERS.

I THINK WHAT WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND IS THAT IF WE ARE GOING TO HAVE AN

ENERGY POLICY IN AMERICA, WHICH MOVES US AND OUR ECONOMY FORWARD, WE

NEED TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE OBVIOUS. IT IS NOT THE CONSUMERS’ FAULT. THE

CONSUMER HAS NOWHERE TO TURN AT THIS POINT. BUT TO PAY THESE HIGH

GASOLINE PRICES.

IT IS THE FAULT OF LEADERSHIP, THE LEADERSHIP AT THE OIL COMPANIES WHO

WILL TAKE EVERY LAST PENNY OUT OF EVERY WORKING FAMILY THAT THEY CAN AT

THE PUMP AND IT IS THE FAULT OF AN ADMINISTRATION WHICH COMES FROM THE

OIL PATCH AND HAS BEEN AFRAID TO CONFRONT THEIR OLD FRIENDS WHEN IT

COMES TO THESE RISING GASOLINE PRICES. IT’S TIME TO START ANEW. IT IS

TIME TO START ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS.

I JUST RETURNED FROM ILLINOIS, TWO WEEKS TRAVELING ALL OVER THE STATE,

DOWN STATE, IN THE CITY OF CHICAGO AND SUBURBAN AREAS. I EXPECTED TO

HEAR A LOT ABOUT THE THE IRAQI WAR, HEALTH CARE, EDUCATION. I DID HEAR

ABOUT THOSE BUT THE THING THAT IS FOCUSING THE ATTENTION OF PEOPLE IN

ILLINOIS IS THE PRICE AT THE GASOLINE STATIONS.

THESE FAMILIES UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS A HARDSHIP THEY NEVER COUNTED ON.

IT’S BAD ENOUGH IN THIS COUNTRY WHEN THESE FAMILIES STRUGGLE TO TRY TO

MAKE A LIVING, TO PUT THEIR KIDS THROUGH SCHOOL AND MAKE THAT MORTGAGE

PAYMENT BUT THEN TO HAVE THESE OIL COMPANIES CHARGING HIGHER AND HIGHER

PRICES FOR THEIR PRODUCT AND TAKING $400 MILLION SO MR. RAYMOND CAN HAVE

A SWEET RETIREMENT FROM EXXONMOBIL — THAT’S UNCONSCIONABLE.

IT IS TIME FOR THE PRESIDENT TO SPEAK OUT. IT IS NOT A QUESTION OF

WHETHER OR NOT OUR ADDICTION TO OIL HAS CAUSED THIS PROBLEM. IT IS THE

FAULT OF THE OIL EXECUTIVES AND THIS ADMINISTRATION, WHICH NEEDS TO SHOW

REAL LEADERSHIP SO THIS ECONOMY DOESN’T STALL. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

########################################

In response to the President’s speech today before the Renewable Fuels

Association, the Senate’s Assistant Democratic Leader, Dick Durbin

(D-IL) made the following speech on the floor of the Senate:

SENATE FLOOR – APRIL 25, 2006

MR. DURBIN: MR. PRESIDENT, THIS MORNING THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED

STATES HELD A PRESS CONFERENCE AND ANNOUNCED THE FOLLOWING: “PRICES AT

THE PUMPS REFLECT OUR ADDICTION TO OIL.” PRICES AT THE GASOLINE PUMPS

REFLECT OUR ADDICTION TO OIL.

SO IT TURNS OUT IT’S OUR FAULT. IT TURNS OUT IT’S THE FAULT OF THE

CONSUMERS. IT’S THE FAULT OF FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES AND FARMERS THAT

THE PRICES ARE GONE SO HIGH.

I DON’T THINK SO.

I THINK THE PRICES AT THE PUMP REFLECT THE OIL COMPANIES’ ADDICTION TO

GREED.

LET ME GIVE YOU A CASE TO CONSIDER. LEE RAYMOND, C.E.O. OF EXXON,

RECENTLY RETIRED. DID HE GET A GOLD WATCH FOR HIS SERVICE TO EXXON? NO.

MR. RAYMOND WAS GIVEN A SEVERANCE PACKAGE OF $400 MILLION — $400

MILLION! AND THE PRICES AT THE PUMPS REFLECT THE CONSUMERS’

SHORTCOMINGS?

EXXONMOBIL RECORDED THE HIGHEST CORPORATE PROFITS IN THE HISTORY OF THE

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. MONEY WENT STRAIGHT FROM THE CREDIT CARDS OF

AMERICAN FAMILIES INTO THE BOARDROOMS OF EXXONMOBIL.

THEY REALIZED BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PROFIT AND THEY TURNED AROUND AND

GAVE MR. RAYMOND, AS A FAREWELL GIFT FOR HIS FINE TUTELAGE OVER THEIR

COMPANY — $400 MILLION AS A GO GOING-AWAY GIFT. AND THE PRESIDENT SAYS

THAT THE PRICE AT THE PUMP REFLECTS THE CONSUMERS’ ADDICTION TO OIL?

WHAT CHOICE DO CONSUMERS HAVE? YOU GO SHOP AROUND YOUR HOMETOWN, MAYBE

THERE’S SOME SLIGHT VARIATION FROM PUMP TO PUMP, GAS STATION TO GAS

STATION BUT IT IS PENNIES AT BEST. CONSUMERS REALLY HAVE NOWHERE TO

TURN.

WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE IS THE PRICE OF GASOLINE IS GOING UP SO FAST, SO

HIGH IT’S CREATING A HARDSHIP NOT JUST FOR FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS BUT

FOR AMERICA’S ECONOMY, FOR THE FARMERS THAT I REPRESENT TRYING TO PUT A

CROP IN THE FIELD, FOR BUSINESSES THAT DEPEND ON THE COST OF ENERGY AS

ONE OF THEIR INPUT COSTS. THAT’S A REALITY.

AND LET ME SAY TO THE PRESIDENT, THE PRICES AT THE PUMPS DON’T REFLECT

OUR ADDICTION TO OIL; THEY REFLECT A FAILURE IN LEADERSHIP BY THIS WHITE

HOUSE. IT HASN’T EVEN BEEN ONE YEAR — NOT 12 MONTHS — SINCE THE

PRESIDENT CEREMONIOUSLY SIGNED THE ENERGY BILL FOR AMERICA’S ENERGY

POLICY LAST AUGUST.

WHAT A GREAT BILL THAT’S BEEN. SINCE THAT BILL WAS SIGNED, WHAT’S

HAPPENED TO THE PRICE OF ENERGY AND HEATING OIL? ENERGY AND GASOLINE?

IT’S GONE UP DRAMATICALLY ACROSS AMERICA.

THAT BILL WAS A FAILURE. IT WAS A FAILURE BECAUSE THIS ADMINISTRATION

BELIEVES THAT THE FAULT AT THE PUMP IS THE FAULT OF THE CONSUMERS.

IT ISN’T. THE CONSUMERS HAVE NOWHERE TO TURN. THAT BILL THAT WAS PASSED

WAS AN OUTRAGE. THERE WERE SOME PROVISIONS IN IT THAT I SUPPORTED,

EXPANDING THE USE OF ETHANOL FUELS AND ALTERNATIVE FUELS. BUT THE BILL

ALSO CONTAINED MULTIBILLION DOLLAR SUBSIDIES TO THE OIL INDUSTRY, AT A

TIME WHEN THEY’RE ENJOYING RECORD-BREAKING PROFITS.

WE’RE GOING TO TAKE MONEY AWAY FROM TAXPAYERS AND GIVE IT TO THIS

INDUSTRY? WHAT IN THE WORLD COULD WE BE THINKING?

THE BILL ALSO HAD NO MEANINGFUL CONSERVATION EFFORT. HOW CAN WE BE

SERIOUS ABOUT AN ENERGY POLICY IN AMERICA IF WE AREN’T MOVING TOWARD

MORE FUEL-EFFICIENT CARS AND TRUCKS?

WE CONTINUE TO IMPORT OIL FROM OVERSEAS WITH ABANDON. WHY HASN’T THIS

ADMINISTRATION SET AS A GOAL FOR AMERICA THE PROPOSAL WE DEMOCRATS

ARGUED FOR ON THE FLOOR, AND THAT IS THAT WE WOULD REDUCE OUR DEPENDENCE

ON FOREIGN OIL BY MORE THAN 50% OVER THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS?

WE CAN DO IT. WITH THE VISION AND LEADERSHIP OF A WHITE HOUSE THAT IS

NOT WEDDED TO THE OIL INDUSTRY BUT WEDDED, RATHER, TO AN ECONOMY THAT IS

BEING AT THIS POINT SERIOUSLY DISADVANTAGED BY THE TERRIBLE INCREASES IN

GASOLINE PRICES.

SO WHEN THE PRESIDENT WANTS TO BLAME THE CONSUMER PULLING UP TO THE PUMP

FOR HIS ADDICTION TO OIL, I HAVE TO ASK, MR. PRESIDENT, WHAT HAVE YOU

DONE? WHAT HAS CONGRESS DONE? WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

AND LET ME SAY THIS, MR. PRESIDENT. DESPITE MY SERIOUS MISGIVINGS ABOUT

THE ENERGY POLICY OF THIS ADMINISTRATION, WHICH BELIEVES THE ANSWER TO

OUR PRAYERS IS TO DRILL FOR MORE OIL IN A WILDLIFE REFUGE IN ALASKA THAT

WE’VE PROTECTED FOR 50 YEARS, A REFUGE WHICH AT BEST WILL START

PRODUCING OIL IN TEN YEARS AND OVER ITS LIFE SPAN PRODUCE SIX MONTHS OF

ENERGY FOR AMERICA. IF THIS IS THE ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS, IS VERY

SHORTSIGHTED.

WE NEED TO COME TOGETHER. WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN THE REPUBLICAN

LEADERS IN CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES ARE SAYING,

WE BETTER CALL THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, I THINK SOMETHING IS GOING

WRONG AT GAS STATIONS AROUND AMERICA — EXCUSE ME.

WHY ARE THEY WAITING UNTIL ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES AND ALARMS ARE

SOUNDING TO FINALLY REALIZE THAT WE HAVE TO MOVE ON PRICE GOUGING AND

PRICE FIXING?

I THINK IT IS TIME WE HAVE A WINDFALL PROFITS TAX. WHEN EXXONMOBIL CAN

REALIZE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF PROFITS AT THE EXPENSE OF MILLIONS OF

AMERICAN FAMILIES, IT’S TIME TO STEP UP.

THE PRESIDENT TALKED ABOUT TAX CUTS FOR AVERAGE FAMILIES. HOW ABOUT

SENDING A MESSAGE THAT THE COMPANIES’ PRICE GOUGING WILL NOT GO WITHOUT

PENALTY? YOU WILL PAY PRICE FOR IT.

THOSE WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM THE WINDFALL PROFIT TAX WOULD BE THE

CONSUMERS.

I THINK WHAT WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND IS THAT IF WE ARE GOING TO HAVE AN

ENERGY POLICY IN AMERICA, WHICH MOVES US AND OUR ECONOMY FORWARD, WE

NEED TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE OBVIOUS. IT IS NOT THE CONSUMERS’ FAULT. THE

CONSUMER HAS NOWHERE TO TURN AT THIS POINT. BUT TO PAY THESE HIGH

GASOLINE PRICES.

IT IS THE FAULT OF LEADERSHIP, THE LEADERSHIP AT THE OIL COMPANIES WHO

WILL TAKE EVERY LAST PENNY OUT OF EVERY WORKING FAMILY THAT THEY CAN AT

THE PUMP AND IT IS THE FAULT OF AN ADMINISTRATION WHICH COMES FROM THE

OIL PATCH AND HAS BEEN AFRAID TO CONFRONT THEIR OLD FRIENDS WHEN IT

COMES TO THESE RISING GASOLINE PRICES. IT’S TIME TO START ANEW. IT IS

TIME TO START ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS.

I JUST RETURNED FROM ILLINOIS, TWO WEEKS TRAVELING ALL OVER THE STATE,

DOWN STATE, IN THE CITY OF CHICAGO AND SUBURBAN AREAS. I EXPECTED TO

HEAR A LOT ABOUT THE THE IRAQI WAR, HEALTH CARE, EDUCATION. I DID HEAR

ABOUT THOSE BUT THE THING THAT IS FOCUSING THE ATTENTION OF PEOPLE IN

ILLINOIS IS THE PRICE AT THE GASOLINE STATIONS.

THESE FAMILIES UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS A HARDSHIP THEY NEVER COUNTED ON.

IT’S BAD ENOUGH IN THIS COUNTRY WHEN THESE FAMILIES STRUGGLE TO TRY TO

MAKE A LIVING, TO PUT THEIR KIDS THROUGH SCHOOL AND MAKE THAT MORTGAGE

PAYMENT BUT THEN TO HAVE THESE OIL COMPANIES CHARGING HIGHER AND HIGHER

PRICES FOR THEIR PRODUCT AND TAKING $400 MILLION SO MR. RAYMOND CAN HAVE

A SWEET RETIREMENT FROM EXXONMOBIL — THAT’S UNCONSCIONABLE.

IT IS TIME FOR THE PRESIDENT TO SPEAK OUT. IT IS NOT A QUESTION OF

WHETHER OR NOT OUR ADDICTION TO OIL HAS CAUSED THIS PROBLEM. IT IS THE

FAULT OF THE OIL EXECUTIVES AND THIS ADMINISTRATION, WHICH NEEDS TO SHOW

REAL LEADERSHIP SO THIS ECONOMY DOESN’T STALL. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

#####################################################################

Weller Calls for New Comprehensive Energy Bill

Congressional Leader on Energy Issues Thinks Strong Move to Renewable Fuels

Possible Before November Elections

WASHINGTON – Speaking after President Bush alongside a bipartisan group of

colleagues, U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller (Ill.-11) challenged lawmakers to produce

a comprehensive energy package this year which aggressively incorporates

renewable biofuels into national energy policy.

“I already have legislation introduced which would increase the

U.S.’s renewable fuels usage to a level that would eliminate the need for

petroleum imports from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela,” said Weller, a member of

the House Ways & Means Committee, referring to his Biofuels Act of 2006. “I

have yet to hear from anyone who doesn’t think that’s a good idea.”

Under questioning, Weller dismissed the notion that such ambitious

policymaking is impossible in an election year, adding that the American

public is weary enough of high energy prices to force change sooner than

later.

“I urge all of you, when you speak to your member of Congress or

their staff – because often it is staff who are the resistant ones – to ask:

if not, why not?” Weller said. “Give me the real reason you can’t pass

energy legislation that’s going to help our economy and our national

security.”

Weller addressed a gathering of the Renewable Fuels Association,

which moments earlier had listened to President Bush endorse ethanol as a

possible cure to the nation’s “addiction to oil.”

“We need a massive commitment to replacing oil with biofuels,”

Weller said. “It’s a pocketbook issue, it’s an economic issue, and it’s a

national security issue. We import two-thirds of our fuel, and it’s

dangerous and short-sighted to rely on places like the Middle East when we

have viable resources in potentially limitless supply within our own

borders.”

Weller’s legislation is H.R. 4573. He introduced it as a stand-alone

measure but said he would like to see it as part of a larger energy package,

and believes the climate might be right in the House for such an effort this

year.

As written, the Biofuels Act of 2006 creates numerous incentives

both for producing renewable fuels and for purchasing vehicles that use

them. Additionally, it would require the U.S. government to use ethanol and

biodiesel in its vehicle fleet, and would boost the renewable fuels content

in gasoline from its current 5 billion gallon level to 25 billion gallons by

2025.

“I’m one who believes in incentives, not in penalties,” Weller said.

“We need our distributors and providers to put in the infrastructure

necessary for more people to have access for renewable fuels.”

The BioFuels Act of 2006 will:

*Increase the renewable content of U.S. gasoline to 25 billion

gallons by 2025.

*Ensure that government agencies will expand their use of renewable

fuels.

*Provide for an aggressive seven-year depreciation schedule for all

ethanol and biodeisel refining equipment.

*Expand and extend the installation of alternative fuel refueling

property that we in Congress passed just last year.

*Create a new tax credit that will provide for consumers who purchase

a new concept vehicle which combines hybrid and flexible fuel technologies.

*Reauthorize the BioEnergy program to increase total funding to a

level of $140 million for the next nine years.

###

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