Blather and BS from Senator CANT(and won't)well.
I sent her an email in support of immediate drilling and she graced me with her form letter.
I'll post the canned response I get from Patty when I get it... in about 3 months if she remains true to form.
Dear Mrs ,
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about the high energy prices in Washington state. I appreciate hearing from you on this matter of utmost importance to families and businesses across our nation.
As I'm sure you know, the last few months have seen the highest recorded average gasoline and diesel prices ever seen in Washington. With volatile oil prices over $135 per barrel, and gasoline and diesel pump prices topping $4 per gallon across the country, consumers are struggling to make ends meet with ever shrinking disposable incomes. Airlines are going bankrupt, truckers aren't getting paid enough to cover skyrocketing diesel prices, and families are cutting down on trips to the mall and cancelling summer vacation plans - further exacerbating our economic downturn. Average national gasoline prices are the highest they've ever been, double what they were just a year ago, and still climbing. Our state continues to have some of the highest prices in the country, despite the fact that Washington's refineries are supplied primarily by Alaskan oil, produce almost twice the refined product that we need for in-state consumption, and have a comprehensive pipeline distribution system.
I recognize the tremendous burden these unprecedented prices have put on families and Washington businesses and I am concerned that the lack of transparency in U.S. energy futures markets may explain some of the record prices we face. Energy market experts, oil company executives, and major industrial energy consumers have testified to Congress that the price of oil and gas can no longer be explained or predicted by normal market dynamics or their historic understanding of supply and demand fundamentals. Numerous experts have concluded that unprecedented jumps in crude oil prices are due in large part to rampant speculation in the energy commodities markets.
To combat this speculation, on June 23, 2008, I introduced the Prevent Unfair Manipulation of Prices (PUMP) Act (S. 3185), the Senate companion to a bill (H.R. 6330) introduced by Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI). If enacted, the PUMP Act would close the full range of loopholes being used by oil market speculators and dark market exchanges and give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) the ability to better prevent traders from establishing powerful positions in commodity markets that could be used for manipulative purposes. In addition, the bill would require public monthly reporting of index fund data and strengthen Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authority to prosecute manipulation in natural gas and electricity markets. Industry experts have testified before Congress that enacting the PUMP Act into law could bring down the world price of oil to the marginal cost of production, which oil industry and market experts believe is around $60 a barrel, within 30 days.
Furthermore, the landmark 2007 Energy Bill included language I authored giving the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) new authority to prosecute and impose fines of up to $1 million per day on anyone who uses a manipulative or deceptive device or contrivance to distort the crude oil, gasoline, or petroleum distillate markets. In the months since the Energy Bill was enacted, I have put pressure on the FTC to make sure they utilize this new regulatory authority as soon as possible. With petroleum prices at unprecedented levels, we need a cop-on-the-beat to make sure Americans aren't being exploited by bad marketplace actors. On May 2, 2008, I welcomed the FTC's decision to issue an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, a critical first step in a rulemaking process , and I plan to continue to push the commission to finalize this rule in the next few months.
To further address the threat of market manipulation, on April 21, 2008, I sent a letter with Representative Jay Inslee (D-WA-1) to the President calling for the creation of a Department of Justice Oil and Gas Market Fraud Task Force to examine fraud and manipulation of oil and gas markets. The Department of Justice stepped in to help investigate Enron's manipulation of electricity prices a few years ago, now it needs to step up and investigate potential corruption in oil and gas markets. Washingtonians felt the economic pain of an Administration slow to act while Enron and other bad market actors were pillaging West Coast ratepayers and now they deserve vigilant oversight from the feds when it comes to gas prices.
Rapidly growing energy needs in Washington state, and across the country, call for diverse solutions. In the search for answers, some have called for expanding domestic oil and gas exploration, including in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), to decrease the price Americans are paying at the pump. While the intent behind this suggestion is surely sincere, it simply won't fix the problem. The truth of the matter is that the Unites States only holds about three percent of the world's oil reserves and will never affect world oil prices. In fact, the Energy Information Administration, an agency within the Department of Energy, reported recently that drilling in all the offshore areas currently "would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030." The United States simply cannot become an energy leader through domestic exploration, but we should seize the opportunity to become a world leader in energy efficiency, conservation technology, and renewable energy technology.
While Washingtonians like you have been working harder to pay the tab at the gas pump and on heating bills, oil companies have been reaping record profits. Exxon Mobil announced their 2007 net profit earlier this year - $40.6 billion - breaking records for the highest quarterly and annual profits ever for a U.S. company. Combined oil company profits exceed $600 billion since 2001. While I want U.S. companies to be successful, hugely profitable companies don't need taxpayer subsidies and shouldn't be allowed to avoid paying royalties for oil and gas taken from public lands. I believe it is time to level the playing field by removing decades-old subsidies to the mature oil and gas industries and invest in clean energy technologies that will keep more money here at home. I recently led an effort to pass legislation in the Senate that, if enacted, would extend clean energy tax incentives scheduled to expire at the end of 2008. On April 10, 2008, the bipartisan Clean Energy Tax Stimulus Act (S. 2821), which I introduced with John Ensign (R-NV) just a week earlier, was included as an amendment to the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 (H.R. 3221) that passed the Senate later that day by a vote of 88 to 8. This legislation, cosponsored by 43 of my Senate colleagues, would provide the continuation of clean energy production incentives for wind, solar and other renewable sources, and incentives to improve energy efficiency that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, save people and businesses money, and reduce energy costs over time.
Please be assured that, as a member of the Senate Energy, Commerce, and Finance Committees, I will continue working to develop responsible solutions to the current energy crisis and to provide price relief to Washingtonians. At the same time, I am working with my colleagues to develop balanced and sustainable solutions to our nation's long-term energy needs.
Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. Finally, you may be interested in signing up for my weekly update for Washington state residents. Every Monday, I provide a brief outline about my work in the Senate and issues of importance to Washington State. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.
United States Senator
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