Before the August recess, house Republicans were trying to schedule a vote on offshore drilling. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent Congress home without scheduling a vote.
Now, Pelosi is following Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama's lead. She says she would consider allowing Congress to vote on offshore drilling when it reconvenes.
Today, Congressmen across the country went to their districts to collect signatures demanding a vote. East Texas Congressman Jeb Hensarling was on an east Texas leg of that tour when KLTV 7's Danielle Capper caught up with him.
"I'm congressman Jeb Hensarling. I'm your local congressman."
He met them right where they are feeling the pain - at East Texas gas stations.
"You think you're paying too much there?...That's what I think. We are trying to get a piece of legislation passed in Washington that would give us a long term solution to our energy problems. Alternative energy, renewable energy, efficiency, and developing our artic area of Alaska and our offshore where we have 40-50 years of energy in the ground," Congressman Hensarling told his constituents today.
"This will help turn this around so again hopefully next time you fill up it won't be quite as painful." 'Thank you,' said a woman as she signed today. "Let me sign that thing," interrupted another Athens resident. "All I want to do is get my signature on here. That Pelosi woman is nuts."
"We want her to allow drilling. They can drill in my back yard if they want to. I want plain coal, I want gas and oil everywhere we can find it," said another resident.
One after another, adding their name to the list, supporting Hensarling's stated desire to create American energy in America for Americans.
"There is not one single thing that we can do to solve the problem, but I think it's going to be a little bit of everything, including allowing us to develop 75% of onshore oil and 85% of oil offshore."
These signatures send the message to Pelosi and Congress - they want a vote.
If you would like to sign the petition, you can call Congressman Hensarling's office at (903) 675-8288, or sign up online. You can find a list of all your east Texas representatives and all their contact information on the Know More section of our website.
Below is the full text of the petition that Congressman Hensarling is asking you to sign and a statement from Congressman Hensarling.
Danielle Capper, reporting. firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (TX-05) stopped at the Shell Food Mart in Athens today and called upon East Texans to demand that Congress allow an up-or-down vote on comprehensive legislation to develop more American energy and help the millions of Americans currently feeling pain at the gas pump. As customers continue to pay historic prices to fill up their gas tank, Hensarling asked residents to sign a letter to the Speaker of the House asking her to allow the House of Representatives to vote on a pro-American made energy bill.
The Speaker abruptly adjourned the House of Representatives for five weeks on August 1, 2008, without offering an up-or-down vote on legislation that would help free Americans from dependence on oil produced in the Middle East and other countries controlled by dictators who are hostile to America. Two days later, Hensarling, along with dozens of representatives, returned to Washington to demand immediate action on legislation that would set America on a path to energy independence.
Hensarling said, "East Texas families have been forced to postpone or cancel their summer vacations due to the high cost of energy, and Speaker Pelosi and Congress should not take theirs until Congress takes up energy legislation that offers a long term energy solution and begins to bring down the price at the pump. I believe that Congress has both a duty and a historic opportunity to help free generations of Americans from the grip of foreign oil. Our national security and economic security depends upon us acting now.
"Hundreds of Americans who visited the nation's Capitol last week received the unique opportunity to sit on the House floor and watch members of Congress call for an emergency special session to allow for an up or down vote on the American Energy Act," said Hensarling. "I want to give East Texans the opportunity to have their voices heard in Washington as well."
Hensarling returned to East Texas to call upon 5th District residents to sign a letter to Speaker Pelosi demanding that she allow an up or down vote on the American Energy Act and discuss his initiatives on American-made energy.
"I have coauthored part of a bill-the American Energy Act-that is comprehensive and preventative, meaning that hurricanes or political turmoil in Iran or Venezuela will not put our security in jeopardy or force Texans to choose between buying a gallon of milk or a gallon of gas," said Hensarling.
The American Energy Act (HR 6566) is a single, comprehensive bill that would increase the supply of American-made energy, improve energy conservation and efficiency, and promote renewable and alternative energy technologies. This plan recognizes that all American energy sources, including alternatives to petroleum, are essential to American energy independence.
The American Energy Act promotes 21st century technology to develop cleaner, more efficient and more affordable alternative energy for tomorrow, while allowing greater exploration and production of American energy from our off-shore resources, arctic Alaska, and oil shale resources, much of which is illegal to develop today. In this bill, Hensarling authored language that repeals a law, known as Section 526, that threatens our national security and energy security by preventing the government from developing alternative fuels sources from materials that are found abundantly in the United States and Canada, such as coal, oil shale, and tar sands.
This bill also promotes energy conservation by providing tax incentives to companies who create more efficient ways to produce energy and individuals who use more efficient sources.
Since coming to Congress, Hensarling has consistently supported legislation that would expand American energy exploration and production of deep-sea resources and in arctic Alaska, promote conservation and efficiency, and development of alternative and renewable energy sources. In 2005, Hensarling supported the Energy Policy Act, which contained $4 billion for a hydrogen fuel cell program, with the goal of launching hydrogen fuel cars by the year 2020. In addition, $3 billion was dedicated to developing affordable, efficient and renewable energy technologies. Hensarling has also supported extending the renewable electricity production credit, the H Prize that would offer cash prizes for achievements in the development of hydrogen energy technologies, millions for bio mass research, and millions for solar research.
"For the foreseeable future, we have plenty of energy to produce in America. Unfortunately, it is illegal to produce it. Congress has taken 75 percent of our onshore energy resources off the table, making them off limits to energy exploration and production. We have even greater energy offshore in our deep sea resources, but 85 percent of that area is also off limits to energy production," said Hensarling. "We have enough energy in the arctic region of Alaska and in our deep sea resources to power America for decades and decades to come. If we will only find the will to open those areas for energy exploration and production, we can begin to bring down the price at the pump and families can end their suffering.
"We need a long term solution that includes efficiency, renewables, and alternative energy. But we also need to allow Americans to produce more American-made energy for Americans, now. This is a historic opportunity to free Americans for generations to come from dependence on foreign oil. "
The text of the letter to Speaker Pelosi is below:
Dear Madam Speaker:
Since gas prices have increased over 70% since January 2007, East Texans like me are suffering. Some families are even forced to choose between buying a gallon of gas or a gallon of milk. We urge you to allow the House of Representatives to vote on comprehensive energy legislation, the American Energy Act (H.R. 6566), in order to decrease our dependence on foreign oil. We need legislation that would:
- Increase the supply of American-made energy by allowing greater
exploration and production of American energy in both arctic Alaska and our off-shore resources
- Promote alternative and renewable sources of energy
- Encourage energy conservation