Bond Discusses Energy Solutions with Missouri Agriculture Community

U.S. Senator Kit Bond today joined Congressman Kenny Hulshof and local officials to host his annual Agriculture Advisory Council luncheon at the State Fair in Sedalia.  Bond shared solutions for the high gas price crisis with Missouri’s agriculture community.
            “Missouri agriculture faces tough energy challenges, but I think we are ready to meet them,” said Bond. “Farmers and ranchers are leading the way to produce food, fiber and fuel more efficiently through technology.”
During the lunch, Bond touted Missouri’s agriculture community accomplishments as a leader in innovation.  Our farm raised renewable fuels have lowered prices for Missouri drivers and offered some relief from our energy supply shortfall, said Bond.  Missouri is also pioneering experiments that use livestock manure to produce asphalt, subsurface drainage and irrigation systems that save energy and water, and more efficient enzymatic processes that will make cellulosic ethanol production widespread. These are only a few examples of leadership Missouri agriculturalists have shown that will lead Missouri to our next step, said Bond. The 21st century will be the age of agricultural innovation to solve the global needs for fuel and Missouri’s farm fields will help serve as a part of that solution, said Bond.
            Earlier today, Bond joined farm leaders, local, state and federal officials to talk about the gas price crisis. Bond emphasized that any plan that has a chance to lower gas prices must both find more energy and use less. Bond outlined four real actions to lower gas prices including find more supplies, use less oil, stop excessive speculation, and avoid making things worse.             
            The most important thing we can do to force gas prices lower is find more energy supplies by opening new offshore production off U.S. coasts, stressed Bond.  According to news reports, there are 18 billion barrels of oil off America’s Atlantic and Pacific shores, which may supply the U.S. with up to 10 years of addition oil.  Opening our offshore oil reserves will immediately cause the price of oil to fall as speculators will see America is finally serious about tapping new supplies, explained Bond.  In July, Bond offered an amendment to the Democrat’s energy bill, which only addressed speculation issues, to tap offshore oil reserves in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, which contains nearly 3 billion barrels of oil.   
Another key component to gas price relief is helping America use less oil. In July, Bond also offered to the Democratic bill focusing solely on speculation an amendment to expand offshore exploration and to promote aggressively advanced vehicle batteries for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. Bond pointed out that Missouri is a leader in hybrid car production, batteries and advanced vehicle batteries.  U.S. domestic mass production of hybrid batteries would conserve oil, give good jobs to blue collar manufacturing workers and help the environment.
            Bond recognized the importance of ending excessive speculation, but emphasized the need to avoid making prices at the pump worse with tax hikes or lawsuits.  Tax hikes have never produced more of something or lowered prices, suing oil countries in OPEC will just force them to take their oil to other countries like China, and suing oil companies will also either lessen supply or raise prices, stressed Bond.
“The high price of fuel is a concern for all Americans,” said Bond. “For farmers, costs to run tractors and get their goods to market are higher than ever before.  We need to find more energy and we need to use less to solve the gas price crisis.”