As our nation and economy grow along with those of rapidly developing nations such as China and India, our demand for energy continues to climb. Coupled with the rate of new oil discoveries rapidly diminishing and with most of the known oil reserves in countries in the volatile and unstable Middle East, this increased demand, along with a dwindling supply of fossil fuels, has resulted in dramatically higher energy prices for consumers. This situation is further exacerbated by price gouging, profiteering and purposefully reduced refining capacity on the behalf of multinational oil companies. High fuel prices are a burden to all Americans and can be especially debilitating to low-income families and seniors. In many instances, these families are forced to choose between paying for gas and other priorities such as food, clothing and medicine. It is imperative that we address this situation quickly, so that economic growth will not be stifled, and Americans will be able to spend more of their hard-earned money on necessities rather than pouring it into their gas tanks.
I believe we need to combat rising energy costs with investment in clean energy generating technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower as part of a long-term, ecologically sound energy strategy. Moreover, we need to increase our use of already proven clean-fuel technology such as ethanol and bio-diesel, in order to help ease our dependence on foreign oil. Georgia stands to benefit economically from investments in bio-fuel technologies derived from the state’s agricultural economy. Our farmers stand ready to meet the challenge of producing more soy beans and corn which can be turned into fuel, and we can create new jobs as well as refineries and processing plants are constructed to meet the demand for cleaner sources of fuel.
In addition to addressing the energy supply needs of our nation, we must also address energy efficiency as well. We need to invest heavily in the research and development of technologies that will curtail some of our energy demand. More efficient homes, appliances and manufacturing processes will go a long way in reducing energy demand and therefore price. It will also aid greatly in creating a cleaner environment. Congress needs to add more tax breaks for hybrid automobiles, and raise automobile fuel economy standards so that our cars and trucks go further on a gallon of gas. Moreover, I strongly support alternative transportation solutions, such as mass transit, to reduce traffic congestion and reduce fuel consumption. I am a strong supporter of the Atlanta-Griffin-Macon Commuter rail line. I also have helped assist MARTA to transition their bus fleet into clean fuel technologies.
Many have pointed to a lack of refining capacity in the United States and the concentration of the existing capacity in a few geographic locations as one of the possible causes of high fuel costs. As a remedy to this situation, they suggest we provide tax breaks and permit waivers in order to encourage construction of new refineries. With nearly every sector of the oil industry seeing near record profits, it is not justifiable to continue to provide federal incentives, especially when many companies are already planning to invest money in new refineries. Moreover, we must also be vigilant against those companies that might seek to take advantage of situations such as tight supply or natural disasters to charge more than a fair price. To address this issue my colleagues and I have sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Deborah Majoras asking them to investigate the cause of the recent gasoline price spikes for any evidence of wrong-doing by those who are making record profits because of high fuel prices. I have also joined my colleagues in sending a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, asking him to launch a Congressional investigation into the issue.
Also, problems in the Middle East have contributed to high fuel costs. The unrest and instability in the Middle East has greatly contributed to the fluctuations in American gasoline prices. However, I believe that the best thing our nation can do at this time is work with other nations and the United Nations to stabilize security and production of oil in the region. I do not support tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an attempt to lower gasoline prices at this time because I believe the possibility of a terrorist attack or other catastrophic event means that we must preserve this great resource for emergencies. Finally, some have called for a temporary suspension of the federal gasoline tax. While I certainly agree that we must not raise taxes, suspending the gasoline tax would mean ending funding for vital road construction projects, including expanding the lanes on I-75, improving interchanges on I-20, and ending gridlock on Highway 316 in our area. I think we can all agree that congestion in Atlanta is at an all time high, and that now is not the time to halt these important road construction projects.
Over the coming weeks and months there are likely to be numerous legislative attempts to address the issue of high fuel prices. As legislation addressing this issue comes before the House of Representatives for consideration, I will be sure to judge each one very carefully on its merits. It is my hope that through thoughtful deliberation on the issue, and skillful policy making, we can develop a long-term energy strategy that will help to restore the cheap, plentiful energy supplies that Americans have come to expect and depend on.
Congressman David Scott Announces Federal Funds for Newton County Project
Speeches and Floor Statements
CONGRESSMAN SCOTT ATTACKS BUDGET CUTS