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McCaskill Offers Solutions To High Gas Prices

Location: Lake Of The Ozarks, MO

McCaskill Offers Solutions To High Gas Prices

July 13, 2006

McCaskill Challenges Talent Energy Record
Encourages Investment In Renewable Energy Rather Than Tax Breaks For Big Oil

LAKE OF THE OZARKS -- This summer, Missouri families are facing record gas prices, putting a severe crimp in their pocketbooks and vacation plans with no relief in sight. Unfortunately, rather than taking action to relieve the strain on Missouri consumers, Jim Talent has done nothing to lower gas prices and has continued to support tax breaks for big oil. U.S. Senate candidate Claire McCaskill criticized Talent's inaction and announced her plan to lower energy prices for all Missourians.

"While Missouri consumers are feeling the squeeze from record high gas prices, Senator Talent has done little to offer them relief," said McCaskill. "Even after voting for an energy bill that gave billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies to big oil, helping them reap record profits, the best he could offer Missouri consumers was an insulting $100 rebate."

In April 2006, Talent proposed to give Missouri consumers $100 to offset skyrocketing gas prices, boasting, "This will show people that Washington gets it." Coming in the wake of Talent's July 2005 vote for a pork-riddled energy bill that was mostly written by big energy companies, giving them at least $9 billion in tax breaks and subsidies, this proposal showed how little Jim Talent "gets it."

While Talent had the chance to push for more tax incentives in the energy bill for ethanol and renewable energy production, he sided with big oil and helped produce a national energy policy that failed to restrain gas prices, bolster alternative energy, or reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

"In last year's Energy Bill, the oil companies got the steak dinner, and the ethanol industry got the saltine crackers," said McCaskill. "Despite paying lip service to investing in ethanol during an election year, Senator Talent has a long record of voting against ethanol."

While they were both serving in the Missouri State Legislature, McCaskill and Talent voted on a bill to provide incentives for ethanol production in Missouri. While McCaskill saw the long-term importance of investing in renewables and voted to establish an Ethanol Production Incentive Fund, Talent was one of 21 state representatives to vote against starting the fund. After the bill passed, ethanol consumption in Missouri jumped over 1,000%, from 53,000 barrels in 1987 to 631,000 in 1990.

Again in 1990, when Talent had the opportunity to reverse Gov. Ashcroft's veto of $125,000 funding for Missouri Ethanol Production Incentive Fund, he voted against supporting ethanol. The veto had an immediate negative impact on the Missouri ethanol industry as ethanol consumption in Missouri declined for the first time since 1985, from 631,000 barrels in 1990 to 570,000 in 1991.

"Jim Talent's election year support for ethanol cannot conceal his shameful record on renewable energy," said McCaskill. "Unlike Senator Talent, I have always supported ethanol and I will fight for more investment in it when I am in the U.S. Senate. Missouri farmers and consumers deserve more than empty campaign promises, they deserve a Senator on their side."

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