FEDERAL PRICE GOUGING PREVENTION ACT -- (House of Representatives - May 23, 2007)
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Mr. HARE Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R 1252, the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this important piece of legislation.
Oil prices are continuing to skyrocket, increasing the burden on American families, small businesses, and individuals who rely on their vehicles for their livelihood. Every day I hear from troubled constituents who are paying over $3.00 per gallon at the pump. Constituents like Richard Benefiel, a small business owner who called me yesterday out of desperation explaining he would have to shut down his shipping operation in less than 30 days unless relief was provided. On the other hand, Exxon-Mobil raked in $9.3 billion between January and March--its best first quarter in history. This is unacceptable.
The bill before us today is a much needed step toward addressing market manipulation by Big Oil and the egregious impact it has on the American consumer. The Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act provides the Federal Trade Commission with new authority to investigate and prosecute energy companies who engage in predatory pricing, market manipulation, and other unfair practices, with an emphasis on those who profit most, thereby providing immediate and much needed relief to consumers.
Yet, this is only the first step in bringing down energy costs. Last year, our Nation hit its highest dependence on foreign oil, importing 771,000 barrels daily from Saudi Arabia and other Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC. This served as a wake-up call for the United States to begin taking measures to decrease our dependence on foreign oil. I refuse to continue to allow OPEC, which accounts for 65 percent of internationally traded oil, to continue to dictate our Nation's gas prices. Antitrust laws must be put into action and greedy oil exporters need to be held accountable.
I am pleased that we voted yesterday to pass H.R. 2264, which authorizes the Justice Department to take legal action against OPEC state-controlled entities who conspire to limit supply or fix the price of oil.
I also believe that building a diverse energy portfolio which focuses on renewable, homegrown energy sources like ethanol, biodiesel, as well as wind, solar, hydro-power and clean-coal technologies is a critical step toward energy independence, which will bring down prices, and clean up our environment.
The Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act is a critical first step in addressing skyrocketing energy costs and I urge all my colleagues to support the bill.
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