U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today helped introduce the Gas Price Reduction Act of 2008, legislation designed to address the high price of gas at the pump. The legislation, which has 42 cosponsors, is part of an effort by Senate Republicans to reach out to their Democratic colleagues in order to find common ground on a way to lower gas prices and lessen our dependence on foreign oil.

“With the average price of gas in the United States costing more than $4.00 per gallon – and with the average price in Mississippi not far behind – it is past time to take immediate action to lower energy prices,” Sen. Wicker said. “By not utilizing our vast energy reserves, we are essentially sitting on our hands when we should be acting to address this problem.”

“By allowing for more deep sea exploration, lifting the moratorium on oil shale development in the Rocky Mountain West, and expanding research for innovative alternatively-powered vehicles, this legislation takes a multi-pronged approach to solving our energy problems.”

Below is a summary of the provisions contained in the Gas Price Reduction Act:

TITLE I: DEEP SEA EXPLORATION IN THE OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF (OCS)

Would make available to production 14 billion barrels of oil in Atlantic and Pacific OCS, which is more than all U.S. imports from the Persian Gulf countries over the last 15 years

• State option nationwide (legislation does not address the Gulf of Mexico since it was addressed in the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006)

• Governor petitions to allow exploration, with concurrence of state legislature

• Exploration must be at least 50 miles from coast

• 50% of revenues to Federal Treasury, 37.5% to States, 12.5% to Land & Water Conservation Fund

TITLE II: WESTERN STATE OIL SHALE EXPLORATION

Colorado, Utah and Wyoming have more than three times the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia

• There are 800 billion – 2 trillion potentially recoverable barrels in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming

• Democrat Congress put moratorium on final regulations for development of this resource

• Republican proposal would repeal the moratorium and allow exploration to move forward

TITLE III: PLUG-IN ELECTRIC CARS AND TRUCKS

• We need better batteries to maximize electricity range & use less gas

• Increased R&D for advanced batteries

• Direct Loans for advanced battery manufacturing facilities

• Sense of Senate that the Federal Government should increase its purchases of these vehicles

TITLE IV: STRENGTHENING U.S. FUTURES MARKETS

• Authorizes increased funding/staff for Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)

• Directs the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets to study the international regulation of commodities markets

• Codifies CFTC action on position limits and transparency for foreign boards of trade

• Requires the CFTC to gather information on index traders and swap dealers

Senator Roger Wicker
6/26/8