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Pelosi: 'Energy Independence is Essential to Reducing the Price at the Pump'

Washington, D.C. -Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic Leaders held a press stake out this afternoon regarding the increase in gas prices.  Below is her opening statement:

'This weekend, the nationwide average of $3.07 per gallon set a record - exceeding last August's previous record.  And I'm particularly concerned because the highest price - $3.49 per gallon - is what is being charged in my district of San Francisco.

'With Memorial Day travel and the start of the summer driving season only a few weeks away, drivers are paying a heavy price for the Bush Administration's failure to enact a comprehensive energy strategy.

'Years of the Bush Administration's policies that have favored Big Oil over the consumers have resulted in record dependence on foreign oil, leaving American families and businesses to pay even higher prices.

'This Congress, under the Democratic leadership, is working to make up for years of inaction, taking America in a new direction that helps bring down the cost of gas and promotes energy independence.  Energy independence is essential to reducing the price at the pump.

'In the first 100 hours of the new Congress, the House passed legislation to roll back $14 billion in subsidies for Big Oil, when Big Oil was already enjoying record profits.  Our proposal reinvests that money at home in clean alternative fuels, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.

'A number of House committees are taking action, holding hearings over the next few weeks to take a comprehensive look at how we can fight price gouging; the development of clean alternative fuels; the impact our dependence on foreign oil has on our economy; and how we can put new technologies to use to achieve greater energy efficiency.

'I've asked Chairman Waxman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee to look into this issue.  Chairman Dingell of the Energy and Commerce Committee will quickly mark up the Stupak bill on price gouging. 

'We have our Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming moving forward with its recommendations, and we have Mr. Conyers, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, having anti-trust hearings on the subject of Big Oil. 

'We have elevated this issue by creating the Select Committee, and we will make this July 4th Energy Independence Day with a package that will do the following things:  provide economic incentives to develop and use clean alternative fuels; help our nation's farmers fuel our energy independence - we will send our energy dollars to the Midwest not the Middle East; encourage an energy innovation economy that will create new jobs and help small business; and enhance technology driven energy efficiency.

'We will lead our nation in a new direction toward energy independence that strengthens both our economic and national security.'