WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., took to the Senate floor today in his continued effort to highlight Georgians’ concerns over rising gas prices and to urge Congress to take steps to address the energy crisis. Chambliss and his colleague, U.S. Senator Kent Conrad, D-ND, are leading a bipartisan group of senators in working to craft meaningful and comprehensive legislation. Excerpts of Chambliss’ floor speech are below:
As I have done over the last several weeks, I want to read a couple of letters from Georgians that I have gotten. I know everybody in here is like me -- you've gotten thousands and thousands and thousands of these -- and this just shows how critically important this particular issue is to every single American.
One constituent writes, "Senator Chambliss, I'm fed up with Congress ignoring the will of the American people. Stop playing politics and act on the will of the people. We've been demanding that you drill and use our 3 trillion barrels of oil. We need other resource avenues that the last three administrations haven't addressed. Stop the partisan politics and pass the will of the people. The American people do not want a socialistic society, period. Fix the problem."
Another constituent writes, "Senator Chambliss, please do something about the gas prices. I'm a stay-at-home mom and with raising the family on one income, the price of gas is cutting us short on our needs. Something needs to be done soon. We're having to cut corners on a lot of different places in order to afford gas to and from work. Everything is increasing except wages. We both have a college education and drive fuel-efficient cars, but the money we bring in just isn't stretching far enough."
This is a sample of the issues that are facing real people out there, and they are looking to Congress for relief.
During his speech, Chambliss also highlighted four critical areas that must be addressed in order to find a solution to high gas prices.
First of all, it is imperative that we look for additional resources inside the United States…Secondly, we simply have to have more gas refined in this country. Now, there may be some oil companies who do not have excess capacity. They may be producing all they can produce. We have not seen a refinery built in the United States in the last 25 years...The third thing we need to do is continue down the road of research and development of alternative fuels -- alternative fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel. These, again, are not the total answer to the problem, but we have taken steps in this body to make sure that we have an increase in supply of alternative fuels, particularly ethanol, over the next several years. In my home state, we now have two ethanol production plants under construction. In the farm bill that we just passed, we greatly expanded the energy title in there. That's the kind of innovation and creation that we provided for in the farm bill and it is the kind of creation that we need to have in place as we move forward… There is one other area -- that is the area of conservation. We simply have to move down the road of making sure that alternative vehicles are available for those individuals who really want to implement conservation measures from a personal household perspective. We have a bipartisan effort under way to help solve this problem. I look forward to continuing to work with Republicans and Democrats to see a resolution of this issue regarding gas prices.
Chambliss is also a co-sponsor of S.2973, the American Energy Production Act, which aims to lower the cost of energy by increasing domestic production of oil and gas in America. Specifically, the bill would authorize oil and gas leasing in the Atlantic and Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) if states chose to do so. It will also authorize oil and gas leasing in ANWR, and suspends filling of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) through the end of calendar year 2008. Chambliss is also a co-sponsor of the Gas Price Reduction Act.