The Republicans did nothing when they had control of Congress to address our dependence on foreign oil. They did nothing to prevent the disaster America faces now, as the price of gas in the 2nd District of Kansas hovers near $4 a gallon.
What could you expect, though, with Oil Men in the White House? Or from Members of Congress who had been bought lock, stock and, yes, barrel, by the oil industry?
Congresswoman Nancy Boyda has made fighting back against Big Oil one of the keystones of her term in office, as was again evidenced by a press conference held at a Topeka grocery store yesterday.
While Boyda and the Democratic majority have taken the lead in attempting to address the problem at hand and that's a newsworthy items in itself, it's the stories of those directly impacted by the increase that are of interest here.
Jim Bauersfeld, owner of Mike’s IGA, said the cost of shipping product to his store from the wholesaler has increased $10,000 per year because of rising diesel prices.
The cost of groceries has gone up about 6 percent in the past year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The cost of many staple foods is rising even faster. The cost of milk has shot up 15 percent, the cost of flour was up 18 percent and the cost of eggs by 31 percent.
Rob McCune, owner of Frontier Trucking, said high diesel prices have hurt his business.
“It’s wiped me out,” he said. “I had 10 trucks, now I have five.”
He said he used to pay $2,500 per week for fuel, but now is paying $6,400 per week — for fewer trucks.
Donn Teske, president of the Kansas Farmers Union, said he had asked another farmer to join him at the Boyda press conference, but the friend declined because he couldn’t afford to pay for the gas to drive there.
In what has become a famous speech because of her content regarding FISA, Boyda addressed the shocking profits and stunning spin of Big Oil during her remarks to the Kansas Democratic Party State Convention in March.
(Just so we're all clear on one important point: Boyda has voted multiple times to invest money in alternative fuel research, but she has also voted to expand exploration in US coastal waters. Both moves are necessary, but everyone recognizes we must wean ourselves off of our dependences on fossil fuels sooner rather than latter).