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|Alexander wants more oil refining in U.S.|
U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander hopes Congress this summer will begin debate on his recently introduced resolution to prompt American oil companies to increase refining capacity.
According to Alexander's resolution, no new refineries have been built in the United States since 1976, and 170 refineries have since ceased operations since then.
Americans now are faced with $4-a-gallon-gas and Alexander believes gas prices will only rise as long as the country depends on foreign oil.
His resolution has not been heard in a committee, but he believes the mood of the country over high gas prices will cause Congress to make the matter a top priority.
"I have voted to drill in Alaska and in federal lands where we have oil deposits, and my resolution calls (for oil companies) to use excess profits to do more at this time when the nation is crippled with high gas and diesel prices," said Alexander, R-Quitman. "We need to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, and it's a pretty straight-forward resolution in my opinion."
Alexander said that some members of Congress have asked why he is "picking on gas companies." He says he is not trying to punish the companies, but they are the ones that provide the gas and in order to make changes, they must be involved.
"We have to start somewhere," Alexander said. "It's a shame we let China drill off the coast of Florida in Cuban waters and we don't drill off the Florida coast because of politics."
Alexander in 2006 introduced the same resolution, which failed to gain traction, but he says there's a "different attitude" in Congress now that gas prices have reached $4 per gallon in many regions of the country.
"I think $3-dollar-gallon-gas might be something we long for some day, especially now with talks of it being more," Alexander continued. "So as the public puts on the pressure, the members of Congress have to recognize that we've got to explore and allow drilling in places we know there is oil.
"We also have to look at alternative ways of fuel at the same time … we need to move in a different direction. We've been spoiled, but I think high gas prices will make those other options more viable."
Those options include alternative fuel sources and better means of transportation such as high speed rail systems.