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Senator says Senate must study breakup of oil firms

RAW STORY
Published: Tuesday April 25, 2006

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In a speech today on the Senate floor, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) proposed considering the breakup of oil firms.

“We also have to reexamine whether having only a handful of giant oil companies can coexist with the needs of the American consumer and a rational energy policy in this country -- I do not believe it does," Schumer declared. "And so I'll be offering an amendment to the supplemental that will require a complete examination as to whether or not we should break up the big oil companies."

“Enough is enough," the New York senator added. "We have no competition. There are signs of it. I've talked to business leaders who buy oil and gas products, major, conservative Republican business leaders, and they don't believe the market is on the level."

Schumer's full speech follows.

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“The president today just spoke about high gas prices. And to listen to the president, you'd think that it's the local gas station that's the problem. We all know it's the big oil companies who are causing these massive price increases that go way beyond what supply and demand would merit.

“There were five words missing from the president's speech today: Get tough on big oil. The president refuses to do that.

“All the gouging bills that we've heard about that are coming from the other side don't mention the big oil companies. They act, again, as if the local gas station -- talk to your local gas station people. They're getting these prices from the big companies, and they have no choice to do what they do.

“The president doesn't touch his friends at the big oil companies. It's nice that the president is finally talking about gas prices, but talk is cheap and gas isn't.

“So America's security won't end with protecting our ports. We have to become energy secure as well. Gas prices are skyrocketing. And anyone who tells you that it was supply and demand that raised the price 40 cents in the last month, is not looking at the numbers of supply and demand, which did not change terribly dramatically.

“If $75 a barrel, $3 a gallon isn't a wake-up call to this country, then what is?

“And prices are going to continue to go up. If we do nothing, we'll look back at the days when it was $3 a gallon, and say, "Boy, that was a lot better than it is today."

“So we need to do three things -- and we are pushing for three things in the real security package that the House and Senate leadership -- Democratic leadership on both sides -- have put together.

“First, we have to dramatically increase conservation. We're not doing any of that. The fact that China has higher mileage standards than we do should make us weep. And China is not a country caring about the environment -- they're doing it just to keep their economic strength.

“We need to develop new energy sources -- a crash program for alternatives, a Manhattan Project.

“And we also have to reexamine whether having only a handful of giant oil companies can coexist with the needs of the American consumer and a rational energy policy in this country -- I do not believe it does. And so I'll be offering an amendment to the supplemental that will require a complete examination as to whether or not we should break up the big oil companies.

“Enough is enough. We have no competition. There are signs of it. I've talked to business leaders who buy oil and gas products, major, conservative Republican business leaders, and they don't believe the market is on the level.

“So on the supplemental that comes up, we're going to focus on port security, we're going to focus on energy independence, and oil prices, and we're going to do everything we can to see that America becomes secure in every way that it should.”