Wichita, KS- Jim Slattery, candidate for the US Senate, held a press conference Friday to discuss the high price of gas.
"As gas prices continue to reach record highs, Kansas families are really struggling to make ends meet," Slattery said.
Slattery highlighted the failed energy policy of the Bush Administration.
"$4 gas is a direct result of the disastrous policy decisions made by politicians in Washington, including my opponent, Pat Roberts," Slattery said.
When Roberts was elected to the Senate twelve years ago gas cost $1.26 per gallon. Since that time, gas prices have increased over 200 percent. Meanwhile, big oil companies have made record profits; nearly $600 billion since President Bush took office.
"Roberts must be held accountable for his votes that led to this energy crisis," Slattery said. "Clearly, Kansas cannot afford another six years with Roberts in the US Senate"
Slattery says in addition to the failed energy policy of the Bush Administration, failures in economic and foreign policy are contributors to the high price of fuel.
"The declining value of the dollar has helped drive gas prices to record levels," Slattery said. "This is a direct result of the irresponsible spend and borrow fiscal policy of the Bush Administration that Sen. Roberts has supported."
Slattery said that Americans are paying a "war premium" on gas as a result of the War in Iraq.
"Stabilizing the Middle East will help to dramatically lower the price of gas," he said.
Slattery asserted that speculation was artificially driving up the cost of oil and that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission must be directed to aggressively monitor oil markets.
"Some experts believe speculation on Wall Street is driving up oil prices by as much as $40 a barrel," Slattery said. "The 'Enron Loophole' Roberts voted for has allowed energy commodities to be traded on markets exempt from federal, state, or local oversight. By closing the loophole and restoring the original intent of the law, we can drive down the price."
Slattery also expressed concern that Big Oil companies were intentionally driving up the cost of oil.
"With the help of Roberts, international oil companies have reaped record profits at the expense of Kansas families," Slattery said. "Congress should investigate to ensure that oil companies have not intentionally created supply shortages as they did in the late '90's."
Slattery also offered long-term solutions in the form of comprehensive energy reform including reduced dependence on foreign oil.
"The first step to energy independence is conservation," Slattery said. "The cheapest form of energy is energy we don't use at all."
Slattery pointed to the fact that Roberts has consistently voted against requiring automakers to improve gas mileage until this election year.
Slattery also said that we should expand domestic oil production.
"While I do not believe we can drill ourselves out of this situation, we must engage all of our resources to begin rectifying it," Slattery said.
Meanwhile, Slattery said the United States should invest in the development of alternative energy.
"Investing in alternative energy sources will not only free us from foreign oil, but create new green jobs," he said.
In June, Roberts voted against the Renewable Energy and Job Creation act that increased incentives for clean energy development including wind and solar.
Other energy alternatives suggested by Slattery included revisiting nuclear generation and developing clean coal technology.
Slattery concluded by saying that Kansans are ready for real solutions.
"We must retire the politicians who got us into this mess," Slattery said, "and elect new leaders who will stop rewarding international oil companies, and start looking out for Kansas families."