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Oregon Senator Doug Whitsett speech  on Energy

July 28, 2008 on KFLS

At $4.30 per gallon, the cost of gasoline continues to make headlines, and to fuel political debate regarding the artificial restrictions of domestic oil supply created by our bankrupt national energy policy.

Meanwhile the perfect economic storm is quietly forming.

The next train wreck will come in the dead of the winter in the form of unaffordable energy for home heating.

          The primary heat sources for most American homes are natural gas and fuel oil.

More than 50 million homes are heated with natural gas, and an additional 8 million are heated with fuel oil

On average the cost for natural gas is projected to increase by about 67% by the winter months.

The cost of fuel oil is already near $5 per gallon representing at least a 50% increase in cost over last year.

That obscene cost is expected to increase significantly more by the winter months.

The escalating cost of electricity has already eliminated that energy source from most home heating plans.

Cost pressures from environmental regulation and from escalating fossil fuel prices will certainly continue to drive electricity to unaffordable levels for home heating use.

The bottom line is that we may expect a near certain doubling of our home heating costs from last years prices that were already oppressive, and that were already  beyond the means of many of our citizens.

The local alternative of burning wood to heat our homes is becoming more difficult due to tightening Environmental Protection Agency and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality air quality standards that restrict the emissions of small particles commonly found in wood smoke.

These regulations restricting PPM 2.5 emissions are strictly policed by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality employees who are willing, an able, to impose significant fines for heating our homes with wood fires during poor air quality days.

Much as they did last year, they will focus on restricting wood stove emissions during air temperature inversions.

Everyone knows, including ODEQ employees, that these air temperature inversions usually occur during the coldest winter days and nights.

The Wall Street Journal predicts that the average middle class American family will spend more than $1500 per month this winter on the combined cost of home heating, electricity, and gasoline.

Meanwhile the federal government has set aside only about two and one half billion dollars for its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

That amount will provide an annual grant of about $350 to about 17% of the nationsí poorest families.

The other 83% of the nationís poor, as well as all middle class families, are on there own.

In past years we have been concerned how poor families and elderly citizens on fixed incomes will be able to afford to heat their homes.

This year we will experience the same phenomenon among many middle class families.

Our politicians, our political elite have created this energy crisis by making development of most of our known domestic resources illegal.

This train wreck will continue to escalate until the American people command the political elite to create a coherent national energy policy that provides adequate supply for our peoplesí demand.

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