An open letter to Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher and Congressman Jerry McNerney:
I write to you because our nation is in an economic emergency. Each day brings new bad economic news. In your congressional districts, the recent ongoing increase in gas prices is creating enormous financial difficulty for all residents of each county, especially those in East Contra Costa, most of whom must commute to work.
East County residents do not have the option of mass transit, as it does not exist in our area. There are not sufficient jobs for them to work locally. Nor can our residents afford to buy new, more fuel-efficient cars on short notice. Local residents are further impacted by the substantial increase in prices for everyday items due to the significantly higher fuel prices that trucking companies are now forced to pay.
Lastly, local businesses are beginning to go bankrupt. These conditions, coming on top of the ongoing foreclosure crisis, are debilitating to our local residents and our local economy. Nationally, the economic situation is even worse, as we watch our airlines and automakers totter into insolvency and oblivion.
Our nation cannot continue to allow these rapid and extreme increases in gasoline prices to go unchecked. Congress must act now to stop these increases and help stabilize our economy, without regard for any partisan advantage or position. I am calling upon you, as our local congressional representatives, to take the following actions immediately in the order laid out below:
Immediately open up all areas where oil drilling is currently banned by the federal government and give states the option to allow oil and or natural gas drilling within their respective jurisdictions. Let California, Florida, Alaska, Utah, Colorado, and all other states decide for themselves if they want to drill for oil.
Mandate one or two uniform gas formulas across the United States so that no orphaned areas are limited to a meager few refineries to supply their gasoline, as is currently the case in California. Before the current formula, California was able to get gas from numerous out-of-state refineries.
Couple the new CAFE standards that raise the mpg of passenger cars with renewed rebates for purchases of high-gas-efficient hybrid, electric and other types of cars. Create incentives for joint development of more efficient batteries and other technologies for cars. Consider a temporary national speed limit of 55 to 60 mph.
Establish an expedited approval process for the construction of new oil refineries and oil and gas pipelines in order to avoid the delays associated with current multi-year approval processes.
Adopt legislation calling for expedited approval of a standardized model nuclear reactor throughout the United States, as has been the longstanding practice in France, Japan, India and China, among other nations. This is critically important so that the United States can move away from carbon producing/air polluting energy plants and reduce our reliance on oil for energy and transportation. Without an expedited process, we won't even be able to timely replace existing nuclear plants.
Look for ways to help the average person use solar energy to lessen our need for new large-scale energy plants.
We cannot afford to continue to wait for Congress to act! You must act to open up the U.S. for oil drilling immediately and end the federal legal blockade on using our own oil. Please do not delay in acting upon this request. I look forward to receiving your prompt response.
Councilmember, city of Oakley