WALB News 10 - Chambliss Pushes New Reform Energy Act
By Jennifer Emert
Georgia's senior U.S. Senator says high gas prices aren't a campaign issue and should be addressed right now.
When Senator Saxby Chambliss returns to Washington in two weeks he wants Congress to take a vote on what's been dubbed the 'Gang of 10's Energy Plan.'
The plan developed by five Republicans and five Democrats includes three main components that include transitions to non-petroleum based fuels, a commitment to conservation and energy efficiency and domestic production of energy resources which includes additional off shore drilling.
In Albany gas prices have fallen 26 cents in the last two weeks as oil speculators have become more optimistic and the dollar has strengthened.
"I'm happy to see them come down, I'd like to see them go lower," said Harry Thomas, a motorist.
"I'd like to see it go down to two dollars, but that's not going to happen anytime soon," said Travis Peacock, a motorist.
If 10 Democratic and Republican Senators, dubbed the gang of ten, have their way, it might. They've proposed the New Energy Reform Act of 2008 and in that act a measure that allows off shore drilling. Georgia's Senator Saxby Chambliss has been criticized for being part of the bi-partisan group, but says he'll continue to push for the Senate to take action when he returns to Washington next month.
"The only way you get things accomplished is to do so in a bipartisan way because you have to have 60 votes and I did reach out to democrats to see if we couldn't find some common ground," said Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
That common ground includes opening additional drilling acreage in the Gulf of Mexico, and would allow for oil exploration along the Eastern Seaboard if state legislature's approve it. President Bush's voiced his support by lifting the executive ban.
"We've seen prices start falling, we've seen the price for a barrel of oil decrease by about 20 percent, since the President made his statement, since we came out with our proposal," said Chambliss.
In south Georgia, motorists support the measure.
"I think that's great he should just continue to go forward with it and hopefully make progress with it and bring the prices on down," said Rodney Perkins.
Critics to the proposal say exploration for off shore drilling takes years and isn't an immediate fix. Chambliss says that's why Congress shouldn't wait to take up the issue.
He hopes to bring the issue to a vote before the end of September.