June 17, 2008

Energy E-Mail Draws More Than 500 Responses Overnight

Crapo's request for input from Idahoans on gas prices gets strong response

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo asked Idahoans to give Congress input on lowering high energy costs, and he got it-more than 500 e-mailed responses in one evening. Monday, Crapo sent e-mails and posted a request on his website seeking comment on efforts to lower prices for gasoline, diesel fuel and other energy costs. He plans to share the responses with fellow Senators.

Many of the Idahoans who have responded say they agree with Crapo that energy conservation plans should be linked with increased exploration efforts and development of alternative energy sources that would not leave the U.S. dependent on foreign fuel sources.

"Today, we had to make the difficult choice of putting fuel in the car or grocery shopping," wrote a Boise resident. "We gassed up the car and decided to try to make it until payday with the food we had at home. I have never felt so sick and downtrodden at the one or the other kind of option we faced today. I went home and also decided through some back bills that our housing heating and cooling has doubled since 2002."

"It has mostly affected my family. My five children, 7 years and younger, can no longer feel free to visit their dying grandmother and grandfather, just three and a half hours away," said another respondent, who noted the price of a trip has tripled from $20 to $60. "Grandma and Grandpa don't come visit us anymore, but maybe once every 6 months. They used to come once a month."

"Both my husband and I have been eating less to ensure that our children are well fed, among other cuts in our life … we need to be utilizing our own resources within our country," wrote another Idahoan.

A Rigby businessman noted that diesel prices are devastating the construction industry. "These fuel prices are putting people out of work," he wrote. An official with an energy assistance operation in Idaho Falls says he has received requests from many families who have never applied for assistance before. "What this tells us is that families have been able to make [do] until now, but because of high fuel costs and higher grocery prices, they are [now not] able to meet all of their obligations," he wrote.

Crapo said Congress should return to legislation expanding energy exploration and alternative fuels as it prioritizes conservation. "While we must focus on conservation, we should also diversify our energy policy and begin using our own production capacity so that we can become less dependent on the whims of OPEC nations and others who would drive up the price of gasoline," Crapo said. "As we get Idahoans involved telling their stories here in Congress, it is my hope that these messages will help my colleagues recognize the dire pressures that our families across this country are facing. These pressures are not just being faced by Idahoans. This input can make the difference as we debate future energy policy."

Crapo is asking Idahoans to send him an e-mail at energy_prices@crapo.senate.gov with a paragraph or two about how they and family members are affected by high energy prices. Those writing are also invited to share the priorities that they think Congress should set in resolving this crisis-increased domestic oil production, expanded nuclear energy research, incentives for conservation, or any additional information that they wish to share.