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House Continues Action on Energy

June 24, 2008
Press Release

Four Bills before the House this Week Designed to Help Lower Gas Prices,
Move the Country to Cleaner, Smarter, More Affordable Energy Future

Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) and the democratically-led House of Representatives continue their action on high energy prices this week with four pieces of legislation that will help transition America to a more affordable energy future. Four measures expected to come before the House in the next few days will address excessive oil speculation and crack down on price gouging, force oil companies to ‘use it or lose it’ on federal drilling permits, and reduce fares for public transit.

“Record-high gas prices are bearing down hard on consumers and our economy,” Rep. Kind said. “And while this is not news to me or to the western Wisconsin families who have painfully witnessed the rapid climb in gas prices, it apparently is news to President Bush and Republicans who failed to enact a comprehensive energy strategy and now continue to advocate for policies that will keep us addicted to oil. This week we will act on four bills that together represent a move towards an energy future that is cleaner, smarter, and more affordable for everyone.”

The House is expected to act on the following legislation this week:

The Energy Price Gouging Prevention Act (H.R. 6346): This bill would give the Federal Trade Commission the authority to investigate and punish companies that artificially inflate the price of energy. Recently New Jersey surveyed more than 1000 gas stations and issued tickets for 350 violations of price gouging-related offenses, including: not accurately measuring fuel, inaccurate fuel-grade ratings, inaccurate total sale price calculation, and multiple price changes in a 24-hour period.

“Use It Or Lose It” for Oil Companies Holding Permits and Not Drilling (H.R. 6256): While Republicans continue to advocate additional drilling off of America’s coasts, oil companies are warehousing permits for 68 million acres of undeveloped federal land that could produce as much as 4.8 million barrels of oil per day. Not tapping these resources has kept domestic supply lower and prices higher. This bill would compel the oil industry to start drilling or lose the permits altogether.

Addressing Oil Speculation (H.R. 6334): This bill would close the “Enron-like London Loophole” for Petroleum Markets, taking steps to curb excessive speculation in the energy futures markets, which experts have noted is driving up the price of a barrel of oil.

Reducing Transit Fares (H.R. 6052): This bill would give grants to mass transit authorities to lower fares for commuters pinched at the pump and expand transit services. This not only will help families with the cost of their commute, it would reward conservation by encouraging more people to take advantage of public transit.