Pennsylvania lawmaker fights high fuel costs

| Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Pennsylvania state Rep. Camille "Bud" George Jan. 31 called for swift action to counter rising fuel prices which he says are shredding Pennsylvania families and businesses.

"Two years ago, skyrocketing fuel prices ripped apart countless families and businesses," Rep. George (D-Clearfield County) said in a released statement. "Today, the nightmare is back, and the economic harms are untenable and our failure to act inexcusable."

Rep. George plans to introduce legislation when the House reconvenes Feb. 10 to resurrect the Pennsylvania Energy Office to promote regional fuel reserves, combat energy shortages and price surges and ease the state's "harsh income cutoffs for heating assistance."

George told the story of a constituent who called in tears about diesel prices that had jumped 13 cents a gallon in 72 hours. The family had purchased a coal truck to earn income, only to be hit hard by high insurance costs after September 11, 2001, and $1.68 a gallon diesel prices that have been increasing almost daily.

"The thousands of independent owner-operators who we rely on to deliver everything from logs and coal to food can't surcharge when fuel prices run wild," George said. "This year, political problems in Venezuela are blamed for the price spikes. Two years ago, problems at refineries were blamed. I'm tired of talking about what causes the problems when we should be focusing on solving them."

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