Press Releases

Upton, Local Business Leaders Meet to Discuss Impact of Rising Gas Prices

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Kalamazoo, MI, March 15, 2012 | Meghan Kolassa ((202) 225-3761) | comments

This morning, Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) met with Kalamazoo-area business leaders and the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce to discuss the impact of high energy prices on the local economy and area job creators, as well as the need to adopt a long-term national energy policy.  Upton, who serves as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has championed an “all of the above” energy strategy that puts an emphasis on North American energy production to meet our nation’s future energy needs and lessen our dependence on overseas suppliers.

“It is only March, and already Michigan families and businesses are feeling the pinch in their pocketbooks every time they go to the gas pump.  It is a painful reminder of how urgently we need a domestic energy strategy to address this ever-growing problem,” said Upton.  “Rising costs place a huge burden on local businesses, impeding their ability to create jobs and aid in our economic recovery.  The fact is, when it comes to energy production, we need it all.  By putting the premium back on North American energy production we can simultaneously help lower energy costs, create good-paying jobs, and reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign suppliers.  While the administration has frequently touted the benefits of domestic energy production, the actual policies tell a different story.  Michigan’s struggling families and small business owners deserve better.”

Upton is a leading supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline project, which would bring vital energy suppliers from Alberta, Canada to refineries in the United States.  Construction of the project is estimated to create tens of thousands of U.S. jobs and would reduce America’s dependence on overseas oil by nearly 1 million barrels per day.

“Today’s rising gas prices place a tremendous burden on people and businesses in Southwest Michigan and across the country,” said Steward Sandstrom, President/CEO of the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce.  “It is an enormous issue for small businesses, who are as susceptible to increases at the pump as anyone else.  Our local employers want to expand and grow their businesses, but the uncertainty caused by high energy prices is a growth killer.  At the same time, businesses recognize that high gas prices are a major drag on consumer confidence, so in effect they are taking a hit for these costs twice. These challenges reinforce the economic need for a long-term federal response to our national energy crisis.”

What Local Job Creators Are Saying:

Steven Duisterhof, Gordon Water Systems

“Our nation’s current policy of little to no domestic energy development is hurting our working families the most.  They are the ones paying the highest costs, and in turn it is hurting local small business.  This unwillingness to develop North American energy is disproportionately harming the lower-income citizens of this country – the negligence is borderline unethical.  It’s just flat out wrong.”

Luke and Michael Miller, Miller Energy Company

“As a fourth generation, family-owned, independent oil and natural gas company, Miller Energy and its 12 employees understand the burden higher gasoline prices place on small businesses. We recognize that high oil prices are primarily the result of supply and demand issues combined with geopolitical tensions. Part of the solution to stabilize prices is to create a national energy policy that encourages businesses like Miller Energy to provide more American oil and natural gas supplies to the marketplace.  It is in our nation’s best interest to find new supplies of oil and natural gas across America.  This will not only provide energy for our future, but also create thousands of jobs here at home.”

David Rhoa, Lake Michigan Mailers, Inc.

“We have a plan designed to help us manage the rising cost of fuel.  Our customers did not ask us to develop this blueprint.  We developed this plan because our customers expect us to provide them with cost-effective service regardless of the price at the pump.  They have every right to expect that we would have such a strategy.  Like our customers, the American people have every right to expect that their President will champion a national energy strategy that is comprehensive, cognizant of current economic realities, and viable in both the near term and long term.”

Aaron Zeigler, Harold Zeigler Auto Group

“As the economy is starting to gain steam again the major factor that could de-rail prosperity in the future is out of control gas prices.  As gas prices rise, our costs rise and our suppliers’ cost rise and eventually the tremendous burden of cost is placed on Michigan families who are only now just beginning to recover from 38 months of double-digit unemployment.  The solution is very simple.  Expand energy production here at home with our vast resources and move forward with the proposed Keystone XL pipeline which would create an historic opportunity to increase our access to secure oil supplies.”
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