Congressman Doc Hastings

Serving Central Washington

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Easing the Pain at the Pump for all Americans

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Washington, Jun 27 | comments

All across Central Washington, school is out, summer is in full bloom, and the 2014 harvest is underway. Many families will spend the Independence Day weekend enjoying the weather outdoors in the Columbia River Gorge for water sports, hiking through the Wenatchee National Forest, white water rafting down the White Salmon River, enjoying a day at one of Central Washington’s vineyards, or fishing in the lakes of North Cascades National Park. As in years past, the warmer weather and the promise of summer vacation drives up the demand and the price for gasoline. So far this year, we are seeing another summer of high gasoline prices that will discourage people from touring our region and impact our economy.

Since President Obama took office five years ago, gasoline prices have doubled and our federal energy resources have been put under tight lock-and-key. This is unacceptable. High gasoline prices are squeezing working class families, increasing the costs of groceries and other goods, and forcing businesses to cut costs and raise prices. Rising gasoline prices are a drain on our economy and our pocketbooks. Commuting to work, running the kids to summer camps, and putting food on the table are all becoming increasingly difficult to afford.

Rising gasoline costs disproportionately affect rural areas like Central Washington. Famers spend an average of nearly 60% more of their income on energy than their urban counterparts. Those of us in the Yakima Valley or Columbia Basin feel the pain at the pump far more than our friends to the west in Seattle or Tacoma.

The good news is that four-dollar gasoline doesn’t have to be our reality. This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a series of bills that would lower energy costs for hardworking Americans across the country and create new American jobs. One of those bills, which I authored, would responsibly harness the American energy resources we have right here at home, which would reduce our dependence on foreign oil and help ease the pain at the pump for every American. Another bill that passed the House would put an end to bureaucratic and administrative delays for oil pipelines – such as the widely supported Keystone XL pipeline, natural gas pipelines, and electric transmission lines.

The House has acted on real American energy solutions that will put more money back into people’s pockets. The approval of these bipartisan, common sense bills is a bold step forward to unlocking America’s energy potential and creating over one million new American jobs, strengthening our national security, improving our economy, and ensuring that Americans have access to affordable energy. With lower gasoline prices, more people will be able to visit Central Washington, take in the unique beauty of our region, and enjoy everything we have to offer throughout the summer.

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