Rep. Shimkus (Il-19): Big issue: Energy. All energy, all the time. We will eventually drill in ANWR. It’s environment. My colleague Rep. Peterson (Pa) has been pushing Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). We’re losing our competitive nature through things we can control like natural gas prices. You’ll see some things this year that try to address natural gas prices. I am focused on the great coal reserves. There’s a refinery in my district. We expect energy companies who are making profits to roll that money over into exploration and expansion.
Rep. Capito (WV-2): It’s been a rough month in West Virginia, back to back mine accidents. We need to tighten up some things that are wrong with mine safety regulations. Oxygen is one area, very important to me. Interested in what the President has to say tonight on health care, interested in AHP’s and health savings accounts. Hope he gets into energy, that’s huge in my state. We are resource-rich.
Mine safety: The Sago miners suffocated. Need availability of oxygen. These are common sense. Want to stay in the common sense arena. If we could have located our miners in Sago, we could have saved them. There’s inherent dangers in mining, always will be. Length of time it took the rescuers to enter the mine was 12 hours. We don’t want an overreaction, but we want hearings and investigations. I just don’t think that mine owners would knowingly and recklessly endanger the lives of their miners.
Energy prices — huge issue. We have a lot of people living on a fixed income. We passed the energy bill. I hope we expand refineries, ease some of the regulatory processes, more coal and gas liquification. Need more resources, whether in OCS or elsewhere.
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