Recent Press Releases

Democrats Defeat Inhofe-Thune Amendment to Cut Gas Prices

Measure Would Have Greatly Increased U.S. Refinery Capacity

June 13, 2007

Washington, D.C. —  Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and James Inhofe (R-OK) today offered an amendment to the energy package being considered this week in the U.S. Senate. The measure would have provided incentives for expanded refinery capacity in order to produce clean domestic fuels from oil, coal and cellulosic biomass to reduce gas prices for all Americans. The amendment was defeated by Senate Democrats by a vote of 43-52.

"Every time I talk to South Dakotans at home, one of their number one concerns is the burden of high gas prices and what can be done to bring them down. It's no coincidence that Americans are paying record prices at the pump when no new refineries have been built in the U.S. in three decades," Thune said. "The Senate had the opportunity today to take an important step to directly lower gas prices by encouraging the enhancement of U.S. refinery capacity. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats defeated this opportunity to lower gas prices and took our nation one step backward in reducing our dependence on foreign oil."

The Gas Petroleum Refiner Improvement & Community Empowerment Act (Gas PRICE ACT) would have provided economic incentives to state and local governments who support locating coal-to-liquid refineries and biorefineries (such as cellulosic plants) at Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) sites and Indian tribal lands. This amendment would have expanded the nation's refining capacity while creating job opportunities in areas in need of economic development - including former military facilities that have been closed or designated for closure. The Amendment also sought to establish an opt-in program for state governors to allow the Environmental Protection Agency to coordinate all necessary permits for construction or expansion of refineries, thereby speeding up the cumbersome federal approval process.