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Friday, December 14 , 2018, 2:34 pm | Fair 65º


Capps Supports Legislation to Help Reduce Gas Prices

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, voted Thursday for the Consumer Energy Supply Act of 2008 (House Resolution 6578), legislation to release oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help reduce the price of gasoline. 

The following is Capps’ statement:

“Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of this legislation.

The proposal before us today would require the president to release small amounts of sweet, light crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That oil would be replaced by heavy crude, at a later date and at a lower price.

In the face of record high oil prices, this is a common sense step for a number of reasons.

First, earlier releases from the SPR, by each of the last three presidents, brought down oil prices by between 9 percent and 33 percent within weeks. There is no reason to believe that we won’t see a similar result today. Putting more oil on the market is a sure way to reduce prices.

Second, we have the SPR in place for national emergencies. The damage that these high oil prices are doing to individual consumers and to our economy as a whole certainly qualifies as such an emergency. In addition, the SPR is already at a record 97 percent of capacity and this legislation requires that it not drop below 90 percent.

Third, releasing oil from the SPR is one of the few steps that we can take to actually affect prices immediately. President Bush and his supporters continue to call for opening our entire coast to new drilling and to begin exploring in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. But this failed “drill-only” strategy would have zero effect on oil prices today and is what has gotten us into this mess in the first place.  It would simply be one more gift for a favored special interest of this Administration, the oil and gas industry.

Democrats have a better plan. We are working on legislation to crack down on what appears to be rampant speculation that may be driving up prices by as much as 20 percent, according to some experts.  In addition, we have voted to force oil and gas companies to drill on the lands they have leased or lose access to them and to speed up construction of a natural gas pipeline in Alaska. If enacted, that legislation would help increase supply in the medium term. 

For the long term, we have enacted expansion of many energy efficiency measures, such as the first increase in auto efficiency standards in 32 years, that will help us use less energy across our economy.  And we are moving forward with greater incentives to encourage the use of alternative and renewable resources. We must continue to build on these measures so we can begin a much-needed transition away from an economy based on fossil fuels. 

But these measures, as critically important as they are, will take time.  In the meantime we have to move to help consumers today. And that is what this legislation would do.

Madam Speaker, high gas prices are hurting the American people and crippling our economy. 

While we have seen the price of oil drop by some $20 a barrel in the last week or two, it is still at ridiculously high levels, and prices at the pump are still way over $4 a gallon in my district and many others. 

And while my constituents across the South and Central Coast are finding it hard to afford to go to the grocery store, take their kids to soccer and even get to work, the big oil companies are once again reporting record profits. 

This is an absolute disgrace and this Congress is moving to put an end to that situation with this legislation.

I urge my colleagues to support this common sense bill to help American consumers.”

Emily Kryder is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.


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