Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A reply letter from Congressman Vern Ehlers

October 13, 2005

Jerome Alicki
xxxx xxxxxxxx Street
Grand Rapids, Michigan xxxxx-xxxx

Dear Jerome,

I want to thank you for your communication regarding H.R.
3893, the Gasoline for America's Security (GAS) Act. I appreciate
you taking the time to pass on your comments.

The goal of the GAS Act is to reduce gasoline prices by
increasing domestic refining capacity. The bill encourages the
construction of new refineries through regulatory relief for the
processing and approval to build refineries. To address concerns
about price-gouging in the wake of the hurricanes, the GAS Act
also bans price-gouging; sets strict enforcement for the full
refinery product stream, including gasoline, home heating oil, and
diesel; and establishes heavy fines for violators.

You should also know that the bill originally contained
language that would have changed the Clean Air Act and the
regulation of dangerous pollution emissions from energy
companies. This provision was removed before a final vote, and
with its removal I felt the bill was improved. While I still had
concerns with some of the provisions, particularly the preemption
of state and local control over refinery locations and environmental
regulations, I voted in favor of passage. The bill passed the House,
212-210. At this time there is no parallel measure being
considered by the Senate.

Clearly, people have strong feelings about the subject of
gas prices. High fuel costs affect the economy and individuals.
Following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, it was very evident that
much of our refining capacity relies on refineries located in
vulnerable areas along the Gulf Coast. The long-term impact of
dramatically unstable fuel prices has yet to be determined, but it is
important for Congress to try to protect the stability of our refining
capacity to help deal with gas prices.

The high price of gasoline is an important consideration for
Congress as it debates all energy-related legislation. I support
decreasing our reliance on traditional energy sources and believe
one of the ways to deal with this long-term problem is for America
to become more energy independent. To do this, we need a
national energy policy that balances fossil fuel usage with
alternative and renewable energy sources and promotes energy
efficiency. While our supply of fossil fuels is only depleting, the
demand continues to rise in our country and others. I would like to
increase our national focus on conservation. The GAS Act includes
provisions to encourage conservation through carpooling and a
fuel-efficiency awareness campaign, but I was disappointed that it
did not do more. The President recently shared with the nation
ways that we can work on conserving energy together. The
Department of Energy has compiled ideas on ways that you and
your business can save money at http://www.energysavers.gov.

Thanks again for contacting me. With best wishes, I am


Vernon J. Ehlers
Member of Congress

The Honorable Mr. Ehlers makes some valid points. I disagree with the assertion that Congress has to take steps to stabilize refineries and the oil flow. I say, hands off. No more support for oil or companies involved in oil production. This law allows oil refinery construction anywhere, disregarding all environmental law. Let's move toward solar and wind, and away from fossil fuels. Oil is fading, and the industry is attempting to maintain its stranglehold on the US economy. Screw them. It's time for new leadership with new ideas that will generate new jobs and growth in Clean energy. Michigan's future depends on it. Ehlers is too old and stuck in his ways to see his way out of the box.

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