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NO. R-416.  Joint resolution urging Congress to adopt H.R. 5473, “The Strategic Petroleum Reserve Fill Suspension and Consumer Protection Act of 2008.”


Offered by:  Representatives Smith of Morristown, Bissonnette of Winooski, Botzow of Pownal, Consejo of Sheldon, Davis of Washington, Kitzmiller of Montpelier, Kupersmith of S. Burlington and Shand of Weathersfield

Whereas, Vermont is a rural state with minimal public transportation, and farmers are dependent on gasoline for essential motorized operations, and

Whereas, the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced on April 28, 2008 that the nationwide average retail price of regular unleaded gasoline stood at 365.3 cents per gallon, and the comparable New England figure was nearly as high at 364.9 cents per gallon, and this upward spiral represents a per-gallon rise of 30 cents nationally and 40 cents regionally just since the end of March, and

Whereas, the average cost of diesel fuel, combining all subcategories of diesel, has risen approximately 18 cents in just the last four weeks, and

Whereas, the economic impact of the skyrocketing gas prices on the Vermont economy is spreading as families are restricting nonessential but revenue-generating activities and purchases, and

Whereas, after the 1973 oil embargo, Congress established a Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) as a supply source in times of an energy emergency, and

Whereas, the SPR is over 96 percent full with 700.9 million barrels, and, in contrast to practices in prior decades, the Bush administration has continued to purchase oil for the SPR regardless of market conditions, and

Whereas, a 2003 report of the minority staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Government Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations concluded that making oil deposits into the SPR drove up crude oil prices through a tightening of the supply and a reduction in the domestic stock, and independent economists have estimated that filling the SPR has resulted in a rise in the price of oil of at least $2.25 per barrel or as much as $0.25 per gallon of gasoline, and

Whereas, in 2000, the Clinton administration’s release of 30 million barrels from the SPR, in anticipation of a threatened home heating fuel crisis, caused the price to drop from $37 to $31 per barrel, and similarly when the U.S. Department of Energy released 11 million gallons from the SPR following Hurricane Katrina, crude prices dropped approximately $5.00 per barrel, and

Whereas, on February 8, 2008, Congressman Peter Welch along with Congressman Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Congressman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois wrote to President Bush requesting that a planned deposit of 12.3 million barrels of oil into the SPR be delayed for six months in order to reduce the price of oil temporarily, and

Whereas, when the Bush administration rejected this request, Congressman Peter Welch introduced H.R. 5473, “The Strategic Petroleum Reserve Fill Suspension and Consumer Protection Act of 2008,” which would suspend the delivery of crude oil to the SPR for the balance of 2008, or alternatively until after a 120-day period that would begin if the U.S. secretary of energy notifies Congress that the weighted average price of petroleum in the United States for the most recent 90-day period is $50 or less per barrel and that would conclude 30 days after the secretary’s congressional notification, and

Whereas, although this legislative measure proposes a short-term step to stem skyrocketing energy costs, its adoption could save consumers as much as 24 cents per gallon, and

Whereas, H.R. 5473 now has 63 cosponsors, and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has joined the bill’s cosponsors in calling on President Bush to suspend oil shipments to the SPR, and

Whereas, all three major party presidential candidates have expressed at least conceptual support for suspending further oil deposits into the SPR, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the general assembly urges Congress to adopt H.R. 5473, “The Strategic Petroleum Reserve Fill Suspension and Consumer Protection Act of 2008” as quickly as possible, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to U.S. Representative John Dingell, chair of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and to the Vermont congressional delegation.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont