Republicans, Democrats square off about fuel prices

| 4/19/2006

In a scenario eerily reminiscent of 2005, Republicans and Democrats are engaging in a battle of words about the rising cost of fuel.

In a press release issued Tuesday, April 18, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA, led a group of 15 senators in calling on President Bush to support anti-price gouging legislation that is currently before Congress.

The Energy Emergency Consumer Protection Act would ban profiteering at the gas pump, give regulators more authority to go after suspected price gougers, and increase the transparency of the fuel market.

Cantwell said in the release that, if the president “is serious about securing a better energy future for America, he should support a tough law that prohibits profiteering in the oil and gas industry.”

Cantwell’s legislation failed to win approval in the Senate in November 2005, but she is urging the president to put his support behind it now, ahead of the summer driving season and even higher fuel prices.

Meanwhile, some Senate Republicans have fired their own shots.

The Business Journal of Phoenix, AZ, reported that Sen. Jon Kyl, R-AZ, dismissed the efforts of Democrats to put more pressure on the oil industry and instead called for increased drilling and increased use of nuclear energy and coal energy.

Kyl said high global demand, along with the government’s ethanol mandates – a key gasoline additive will be replaced with ethanol this summer – are to blame for high fuel prices, not the oil industry.