Fuel prices are too high and I welcome the opportunity to update you on recent activity in this area.
On July 25, 2008, the Senate considered S. 3268, the Stop Excessive Energy Speculation Act of 2008. I supported this bill because I believe greater transparency and market vigilance is essential for consumers. Unfortunately S. 3268 was derailed on a procedural basis. I was disappointed, but will continue working toward sensible energy solutions.
Many factors have contributed to our current energy predicament. Over the long term we will not have true energy security unless we embrace conservation, develop alternative fuels, and limit our economic exposure to wild fluctuations in petroleum prices.
For these reasons, I have supported new incentives for wind and solar energy. I have also pushed to make Wisconsin home to a new U.S. Department of Energy renewable fuels laboratory. We must use a variety of tactics to find energy sources beyond foreign oil.
Enforcement of Antitrust laws is also a necessary step. As Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, I have authored legislation to make OPEC subject to U. S. antitrust law.
Where traditional oil and gas development on federal lands is concerned, I believe we need to take a balanced approach. In 2005, I voted in favor of opening off-shore areas to oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. While traditional petroleum development can be achieved in an environmentally sound manner, expanding domestic production alone will not insulate our nation from world oil prices. We need to be cautious of allowing short-term economic considerations to take precedence over the long-term health of the environment. That's why I have worked to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and continue to support further efforts to protect this pristine area.
High fuel prices put our economic security at great risk. While Congress does not have the authority to set gas prices, please know that I am working to provide relief. I appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts on this issue and will certainly have them in mind as the Senate continues to work towards a comprehensive national energy policy.
Obviously Sen. Kohl doesn't get it either. But, when you're richer than the next 5 richest senators combined, who cares what the cost of gas is.