Pompeo: Government Shouldn't Punish Oil Industry

By: Stephanie Diffin Email
By: Stephanie Diffin Email

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

As Kansans continue to struggle with prices at the pump, a battle is also underway in Washington D.C. on how to keep energy affordable. Some lawmakers are looking to help grow alternative forms of fuel, but Republican Congressman Mike Pompeo says it's not the government's place to give any form of energy a boost above the rest.

Most Kansans are on the same page when it comes to prices at the pump.

"The prices are outrageous," said Wichita driver Kenneth Hawkins.

"They're pretty high. And with a truck it makes it rough," said Melissa Galleher.

That sentiment is why Pompeo says now is not the time to make it harder on the oil industry. And he says giving government subsidies to other forms of energy such as wind, solar, or nuclear, does just that.

"We shouldn't penalize or punish the oil industry, especially in times where families are really struggling with prices at the pump," said Pompeo.

This, as many Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill stand behind a bill that would reportedly provide around $5 billion in tax credits for the natural gas industry.

Supporters of the bill say there is plenty of natural gas in the U.S., so promoting it will help the nation become less dependent on foreign oil.

But Pompeo says it's not the government's job to pick which form of energy Americans use.

"We can't continue to have taxpayers funding projects that have failed and failed and failed," said Pompeo.

So he's sponsoring a resolution to get rid of government subsidies for all energy industries.

"It levels the playing field, gets government out of the way, and allows them to all compete effectively," said Pompeo.

Meanwhile, drivers say they're hoping the debate in Washington will at some point mean a cheaper way to travel. Because they say if there aren't changes at the pump, there will have to be changes on the road.

"Oh I'll be having to drive a scooter or something!" said Galleher.

Tuesday, the Senate also blocked a bill that would repeal about $2 billion in tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies. Senate Democrats say the measure was a response to huge industry profits and high gas prices.

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