Yosemite National Park is a significant driver of the local tourism industry in Representative Denham's district. This year, tourists may need to change their plans because of high gas prices. Rep. Denham's district is also facing unemployment rates as high as 18.4% in Fresno County, 17.2% in Madera County and 18.4% in Stanislaus County. (Bureau of Labor Statistics) Rep. Denham is working in Congress to increase American production of oil and gas in order to ease the burden travelers feel at the pump and create American jobs.
Rep. Denham, member of the House Committee on Natural Resources and House Energy Action Team (HEAT), submitted the following statement at a Natural Resources hearing addressing rising gas prices and the impacts on working families and tourism:
"High gas prices are a big problem for my constituents in the Central Valley of California. As I saw a few weeks ago when I visited Wawona, a local community in my district, gas prices are hovering around $5.00 a gallon. One employee at the station told me that gas prices are now beyond what he can pay to commute. I am worried about the negative consequences high gas prices will have on tourism and the family-owned and operated farming industries in the 19th district, not to mention the hardships rising prices are causing for families every day.
"Central Valley farmers have felt the rising diesel prices and cost of petroleum-based fertilizer as well. My district is home to the most productive agricultural land in the world, and the added burden of high fuel prices will have a detrimental impact on people everywhere.
"At a time of double-digit unemployment in the Valley, we cannot afford to lose more jobs because farmers, paying more for gas, are not able to operate their farms. Crops will be left in the ground and farms will not be able to hire workers.
"The tourism industry, a driver of the local economy in the 19th district, has also been impacted by rising gas prices. Yosemite National Park, which is one of the most visited National Parks in the Nation, is in my district and draws many out-of-state visitors. While speaking with constituents at gas stations around my district the past few weeks, folks told me that they had planned their trip to Yosemite a while ago and had they known gas prices were going to be so high, they would have reconsidered their decision. They mentioned that they may be forced to reconsider their plans for this summer and next year as well.
"High gas prices are posing a real problem for the local mom and pop shops, gateway communities, and the jobs that are dependent on tourism.
"The Federal Government needs to implement an energy policy that promotes the development of our resources here in the United States. Our country will continue to struggle in its economic recovery if we do not eliminate policies that close off oil exploration, natural gas development, and timber harvesting. This is why I joined my Republican colleagues in launching The House Energy Action Team (HEAT) in early May. We are committed to promoting Republican energy policies that will address rising energy prices, create thousands of good jobs and enhance our national security by increasing American production of oil and gas."
ICYMI: Denham: "Gas Prices Affecting California Tourism, Farming and Families"
Denham:" It is not just tourism, if you go to one of the farms in my district, diesel gas has gone up. If you are frustrated about paying higher gas prices wait until you start paying higher grocery prices because in California's great Ag economy the prices are going up. In fact some crops are going to stay in the field this year simply because we cannot afford to have the gas to bring them to market. Parent's feeling the same thing you know I was going to swim practice over the weekend talking to parents frustrated about just being able to get their kids to go to school every day. You think this bill won't do something for gas prices? Its common sense to know that if we've got a greater supply here in our great nation, gas prices are going to go down; we want American jobs. We want to be self-reliant."