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State of Vermont

House of Representatives

Montpelier, Vermont

Joint House Resolution

J.R.H.  20

Joint resolution strongly urging the federal government to take immediate steps to lower retail gasoline prices

Offered by:  Representative Obuchowski of Rockingham

Whereas, Vermont is a rural state with minimal public transportation, and thousands of individuals must drive their cars to work daily, many for extended distances, and

Whereas, the state of Vermont’s economy is heavily reliant on automotive tourism and other recreation‑related activities, including snowmobiling, which according to a 2002 Johnson College study, generates annually revenue of $500,000,000.00 in the state, and

Whereas, farmers are dependent on gasoline to operate tractors, combines, trucks, and other absolutely essential equipment, without which they could not perform their daily chores and sustain their livelihood, and

Whereas, the federal Energy Information Administration announced on March 26, 2007 that the nationwide average retail price of regular unleaded gasoline stood at 261.0 cents per gallon, and the comparable New England figure was even higher at 261.2 cents per gallon, and

Whereas, the U.S. average price represented a 0.033-cent increase over the prior week, and

Whereas, the average nationwide price is now 0.112 cents higher than at this time in 2005, and

Whereas, in the Northeast, where ethanol is in short supply, the price of gasoline is again starting to rise, and

Whereas, higher retail gasoline prices cause a financial hardship for a large percentage of Vermonters, and

Whereas, U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman has stated that the strategic petroleum reserve will not be opened except for an emergency that interrupts the supply, and the U.S. Energy Department does not consider the current situation to be an emergency, and

Whereas, notwithstanding the secretary’s comments, the steadily rising retail price of gasoline constitutes an economic emergency of the first order, demanding a decisive and immediate response on the same magnitude Americans would expect if OPEC were to impose another embargo on all oil shipments to the United States as it did in the 1970s, and

Whereas, while the nation’s motorists are paying exorbitant prices for gasoline at the pump, compensation for oil company executives continues to rise, and

Whereas, ExxonMobil is now among the most profitable publicly traded companies in the United States, and

Whereas, the combination of high prices and corporate profitability could indicate that the oil companies are engaging in price gouging, and

Whereas, a year ago U.S. Representative and now Senator Bernard Sanders and U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio of Oregon wrote a joint letter to President George W. Bush requesting that the President “convene an emergency summit of congressional leaders, oil industry executives and consumer advocates to address the soaring price of gasoline,” now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly strongly urges the executive and legislative branches of the federal government to take prudent but immediate steps, both on the economic domestic front and on the international diplomatic stage, that are deemed most effective, including the convening of an emergency energy price summit as Senator Sanders has requested, the initiation of a federal investigation of oil price gouging, the regulation of the petroleum futures’ market, the selling of the crude oil set to be placed or already stored in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, imposing temporary price controls on retail gasoline sales, and engaging in diplomatic bargaining with the nations and, in particular, OPEC, that set the price for crude oil at the wellhead, and be it further

Resolved:  That the General Assembly urges the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to investigate whether the major oil companies are engaging in any price gouging activity in the sale of gasoline on the wholesale or retail level, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the President of the United States, to U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman, to U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, to U.S. Representatives John Boehner, John Dingell, and Joe Barton, to U.S. Senators Trent Lott, Harry Reid, Jeff Bingaman, and Pete Domenici, and to the members of the Vermont Congressional Delegation.




____________________________              Attested to:

Gaye R. Symington

Speaker of the House


____________________________              ____________________________

Brian E. Dubie                                             Donald G. Milne

President of the Senate                               Clerk, House of Representatives



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont