Congressman Van Hollen Democratic Radio Address on Gas Prices
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Since 07-14-08

Congressman Chris Van Hollen
to Deliver Democratic Radio Address

July 11, 2008

Congressman Chris Van Hollen will deliver the Democratic Radio Address tomorrow.  In his address, Congressman Van Hollen will discuss Democrats’ efforts to reduce the price of gas at the pump, including their call urging President Bush to free our oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

WHO:          Congressman Chris Van Hollen

WHAT:        Weekly Democratic Radio Address

WHEN:        Saturday, July 12, 2008 – 11:06 a.m. (EST) on major radio networks, including AP, ABC, NPR, CBS Radio, CNN Radio, Fox News Radio, C-SPAN, Armed Forces Radio Network, American Urban Radio Network, Voice of America Radio Network, BBC Radio, CBC Radio, and Australian Broadcasting Corporation

     AND:      Saturday, July 12, 2008 - approximately 11:30 a.m. (EST) on WTOP

Below is a transcript of his remarks:

“Good morning.  I’m Congressman Chris Van Hollen from Maryland.

“Whether you’re listening today while behind the wheel or in your home, there’s no doubt you’re feeling pain every time you pull up to the pump.  As you know all too well, gas prices — which were less than a dollar fifty when President Bush took office — are now more than four dollars a gallon. 

“This is no accident.  In the first days of his presidency, President Bush put Vice President Cheney in charge of a secret Energy Task Force.  They invited the top oil company executives into the White House and told them to bring along their wish lists. 

“It’s really no surprise what happened next.  With two oil men in the White House, gas prices have nearly tripled, and oil company profits are up over 300 percent.

“We’re all paying the price for these decisions – not only at the pump, but when we buy groceries or when we drive or fly for business or to visit our families.  And our already-struggling economy is getting pummeled.

“Americans are fed up every time they go to fill up – and they’re right to demand action.  But instead of a serious response, President Bush and his allies simply repeat the same old line – more drilling.

“Now let me be clear: Democrats support more drilling.  In fact, what the President hasn’t told you is that the oil companies are already sitting on 68 million acres of federal lands with the potential to nearly double U.S. oil production.  That is why in the coming days congressional Democrats will vote on ‘Use It or Lose It’ legislation requiring the Big Oil companies to develop these resources – or lose their leases to someone else who will.

“But we know that drilling by itself will not solve the problem of high gas prices.  We cannot drill our way to energy independence.

“In fact, the Bush Administration’s own Energy Department concedes that drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge won’t put a drop of new gas on the market for at least 10 years – and it will only wind up saving American consumers about two cents a gallon 20 years from now.

“When Americans are getting sticker shock every time they pull into the gas station, we don’t have 20 years to wait.  We need action.  Real action.  Fortunately, there is something we can do right now.

“Earlier this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on President Bush to immediately tap part of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to bring down runaway gas prices.  This Reserve is the supply of oil our country has put away for a rainy day.  It has never been more full than it is now.  There are over 700 million gallons of oil there available for our use.

“And when it comes to the harm that gas prices are having on our families and our economy, America’s rainy day is now.

“Presidents have tapped this Reserve before.  President Bush’s father did it in the early 1990s.  President Clinton did it.  Even this President Bush did it after Hurricane Katrina. 

“We’ve tapped the Reserve for reasons of instability in the Middle East or high energy prices here at home.  And we’re facing both these challenges today — in addition to rampant speculation in our energy markets.

“If we responsibly used just some of this American stockpile of oil, we could give drivers quick and real relief at the pump. 

“But so far President Bush has resisted our call.  If he gave the go-ahead, new supplies would make it onto the market in just 13 days.  But the only answer we’re getting from him is, ‘No.’

“Tapping America’s rainy day oil supply isn’t a long-term solution.  We need to put in place a real energy policy – one that frees us from dependence on foreign oil, uses American ingenuity and innovation to power our country with new clean technologies, and creates hundreds of thousands of new jobs while reducing climate change.

“But Americans who are hurting now can’t just wait for the long term.  The pain is not ‘mental’ and Americans are not ‘whiners’ as Senator McCain’s top economic advisor Phil Gramm would have us believe.  The pain is real, and we need immediate relief.

“A couple of months ago, I saw something that made me shudder.  President Bush traveled to Saudi Arabia to plead with their king to pump more oil.  And the Saudi king turned him down cold. 

“I don’t believe we should have an America that goes begging to other countries.  We have our own oil stockpile set aside for a time of need.  The President should free our oil now.

“The Big Oil companies and the energy speculators may not like the lower prices that would result from using part of our rainy day supply, but I’m pretty sure you won’t mind.

“This is Chris Van Hollen from Maryland.  Thanks for listening.”