Dueling opinions about how to stifle the rising cost of fuel … from a congressman and a congressional hopeful.
We can dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil by utilizing the assets we have in North America. That's what candidate for US Congress John Gard is saying.
Appleton Congressman Steve Kagen says there are two big reasons for high gas prices: "Bush and Cheney." Some say Congress is to blame.
"I think there's plenty of blame to go around. I think the President and Congress have not done the job to help lower the price of gas and increase independence from foreign countries."
Gard says gasoline has gone up significantly since Kagen was elected. "The evidence is clear. Since Steve Kagen has been in Congress gas has jumped up a buck-65 a gallon and there is no end in sight."
Kagen opposes drilling for more oil, while Gard is pushing it. The former Assembly Speaker says the laws of supply and demand do work. He wants to allow environmentally safe oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
Kagen blames commodities speculators, in part, for the spikes at the pump. Gard believes market manipulators can be mitigated by increasing our supply.
He says you and I would see lower gas prices immediately with his plan. "Oil is a commodity that's traded on a futures market. And I believe if Congress would act before the fourth of July to open up ANWR and begin additional exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf , I think we would be able to send a signal and the speculation price on oil would drop immediately."
Gard wants to increase access for oil exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf; after all, he says, China's doing it. "China is now starting the process of drilling within eyesight of the Florida coast because they are in Cuban waters and we continue to have a Congress that says 'no additional exploration or drilling in North America.'"
Gard also wants to cut the red tape on new refineries, allow development of oil shale sites, and look into alternative energy.