Dear Mrs. Anderson,
Thank you for contacting me about the rising cost of fuel. I truly appreciate hearing from you, and I am working hard to stand up for New Hampshire 's interests in Congress.
I understand how important affordable fuel is to you personally. Oil companies are reporting record profits while New Hampshire families are struggling to deal with rising gas and heating oil prices. I am working in Congress to find both immediate and long-term solutions to this problem.
One major cause of rising oil prices is unregulated speculation in the oil market. I am a co-sponsor of H.R. 6334, the Increasing Transparency and Accountability in Oil Prices Act. This legislation would stop excessive speculation in the petroleum markets by closing loopholes that drive up energy prices. Energy analysts recently testified before Congress that if excessive speculation was limited, gas prices could drop to as low as $2 per gallon. H.R. 6334 has been referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.
To help lower the cost of fuel, it is also critical that we increase our domestic energy supply. There are currently 68 million acres of federal lands that have been leased to oil companies but have not yet been drilled, limiting supply and driving up fuel prices for New Hampshire families.
I am an original co-sponsor of H.R. 6251, the Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act, which provides a common sense solution to this problem. This bill prohibits oil companies from receiving new leases unless they have demonstrated diligent efforts to develop the lands they currently own for the production of oil or natural gas. On June 26, 2008, I voted for H.R. 6251, which, unfortunately, did not pass in the House of Representatives. I will continue to fight for sustainable energy policies and encourage responsible drilling on federal lands.
The House also recently passed legislation to encourage new, affordable energy sources. I am an original cosponsor of H.R. 6049, the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008. The bill extends existing tax credits for the production of renewable energy sources, as well as credits that will make it easier for families power their homes with less expensive energy sources. Greater production and consumption of these new energy sources will reduce demand of fossil fuels and lower prices. On May 21, 2008 H.R. 6049 passed the House by a vote of 263 to 160 and is now awaiting action in the Senate.
While curbing our dependence on foreign oil is critical, drilling in places such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and off our coasts will take as long as ten years to increase in our oil supply, and will not bring immediate relief to our skyrocketing fuel costs. Through development of new technologies and renewable energy, the United States can achieve energy independence and lower energy prices even more quickly than by threatening our public health by drilling for non-renewable energy sources. Please know that I will keep your views in mind as I continue to work for lower fuel costs for New Hampshire citizens.
I encourage you to continue to contact me about the issues that are important to you. Please visit our website www.hodes.house.gov where you can also sign up for my electronic newsletter and receive periodic updates on my activities as your Representative in Washington .
Member of Congress
And my response back:
Dear Mr. Hodes,
I can see that you did not fully understand my original letter or did not read it in its entirety. I do not want you to find ways of keeping gas prices down. On the contrary, gas and oil prices should keep rising so that we will use less and less of them. My desire is for you to help enable us as citizens of New Hampshire and as citizens of the United States to reduce our dependence on ALL oil. Encourage the rail system to be re-established, improve interstate bus systems, encourage re-localization of all parts of the economy. Stop importing everything from China and Taiwan. Only then can we truly be free of the tyrannical rule of oil.
Mrs. Judith Anderson