Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Richardson seeks solutions for regular people's pocketbooks

Governor Bill Richardson has called on the oil and gas industry for a second time to pitch in $50 million to help consumers.

Big oil companies are making record profits as consumers pay record prices. ExxonMobil ($340 billion in 2005 revenue) recently beat out Wal-Mart ($316 billion) for the top spot on the 2006 Fortune 500 list. ExxonMobil had $36 billion in profits, the most by any U.S. company in history. Chevron Texaco also climbed from 6th to 4th on the Fortune list, and ConocoPhillips moved from 7th to 6th.

“New Mexico is ready to help distribute this $50 million if the oil and gas industry will step up, help out and break their stunning silence,” Richardson said. “This industry is enjoying record-breaking profits while New Mexicans are feeling the pinch.”

Every one-cent increase in the price of gas costs American consumers approximately $1 billion. Congress has passed an energy bill that gives billions in tax breaks to oil companies already profiting from higher prices. It is reassuring to see that Richardson has not forgotten what regular people experience at the pumps.

“In 2004 the average New Mexican made a little more than $31,000,” said Richardson. “Meanwhile, the chairman of ExxonMobil made more than $51 million last year. That’s just not right.”

“I have fought hard to get relief for New Mexico families dealing with high gasoline prices,” said Richardson. “I enacted rebates last fall that sent checks of between $64 and $289 to every New Mexico taxpayer. The astronomical prices at gas pumps again show why we need an investigation of price gouging. I have consistently and forcefully called for such an investigation to make sure that the ways in which gasoline prices are set are completely above board. So far, the oil and gas industry has strenuously resisted this approach.”

Richardson is also working hard to put New Mexico at the forefront of the new, emerging clean and renewable energy economy. Developing renewables such as solar, wind, ethanol and biomass energy resources as alternatives to oil and promoting conservation will help permanently deal with the problem of high oil prices. Mass transit, like the RailRunner commuter train the Governor has championed, are also a big part of the solution for consumers.

Portales News-Tribune has the story.


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