Merkley Meets with Local Businesses, Blasts America’s Addiction to Oil as Economic Anchor

Eugene, OR – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today visited Sequential Biofuels and discussed rising oil prices, the effect those oil prices have on local businesses and his plan to help end America’s addiction to oil.

“Oregon’s businesses and families have been struggling to get out of the grip of this recession for two years,” said Merkley, “but now skyrocketing gas prices are damaging the potential economic recovery; making it like trying to run a marathon dragging an anchor.  We need to end our dependence on overseas oil and create red, white, and blue clean energy jobs here in America.”

Senator Merkley has laid out a plan to eliminate all foreign imports from outside of North America by 2030.  It includes steps to ramp up production and use of electric vehicles, increase travel options and improve infrastructure, develop alternative transportation fuels and reduce the use of oil to heat buildings.  To help address short-term oil needs, Merkley has also called on the President to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and asked regulators to crack down on oil speculation.

This year, more than two-thirds of America’s oil imports will come from nations that too often do not share our goals or values.  This dependence on nations such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, Venezuela, and Nigeria costs our nation billions that could be used here at home and helps governments that often act against our national security interests.  It also prevents us from fully investing in home-grown American clean energy and undermines efforts to improve the quality of our air and water.

Further, a simple increase in domestic drilling will not solve the problem.  Since America only has 3% of oil reserves, yet uses 25% of all oil, we simply do not have the supply to match demand.  And domestic drilling is not without risks, as the BP oil catastrophe has shown.

Senator Merkley was joined at today’s event by Sequential Biofuels founders Ian Hill and Tyson Keever and Natalie Reitman-White, sustainability manager of Oreganically Grown Company, who talked about the impact that rising gas prices is having on business.

A full copy of Senator Merkley’s oil independence plan can be found online here.