Today, Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26), joined by local business leaders affected by high energy costs, discussed how fluctuations in oil prices are stifling economic growth in Western New York and unveiled her comprehensive energy plan. The "all of the above" energy strategy is designed to make our nation more energy-independent, lower gas prices, and reduce the deficit by closing tax loopholes for big oil.
"Unstable energy prices place a heavy burden on farmers, businesses, and families here in Western New York and throughout the country," said Representative Hochul. "It is critical that America adopt a comprehensive energy plan, and now is the time to act. I urge Congress and the Administration to take steps to curb excessive oil speculation, close tax loopholes for big oil that are costing us billions, and spur increased energy production right here in the United States. There are common sense solutions, and I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to implement a comprehensive plan."
Hochul's plan includes a bill requiring the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to curb out of control Wall Street speculators who are driving up the cost of oil and gasoline for consumers and businesses through excessive speculation and price manipulation. To save taxpayer dollars and cut the deficit, Hochul's plan will end wasteful tax loopholes for oil companies who are enjoying record profits. The plan also supports efforts to spur more energy development on federal land, including efforts to increase offshore oil and natural gas development, as well as to expedite federal approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. In addition, Hochul's plan includes a commitment to renewable energy, like the new methane digester in Wyoming County and the Niagara Power Project.
Hochul was joined by Carl Hasselback, a petroleum wholesaler who also leases property to a filling station, and Julie Blackman, a sixth generation farmer of Blackman Homestead Farm in Niagara County and co-owner of Farmers and Artisans in Williamsville, who shared how energy costs have affected their businesses.
"I get price increases now of 8 cents, 9 cents, or 10 cents a day - up, down, all over the place. It hurts my business because demand is down all over. But the consumer gets hurt with 4 dollar a gallon gasoline," Hasselback noted.
"All of our distribution of sales, whether we're large or small, requires a significant amount of fuel. So we just continually, through the entire year, see these prices increase, and we try to absorb as much as we can, but there's a point to it," Blackman added.
Yesterday, Hochul spoke with local agriculture leaders about the high cost of fuel and how it impacts family farms' bottom line. Both agriculture and energy are included in Hochul's "Revitalizing our Economy through Business, Infrastructure, and Local Development" (REBUILD) Plan.