Archive for Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lawmaker expects earful on gas prices during recess

August 21, 2008

U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda expects constituents to give members of Congress an earful about higher gasoline prices during this month's recess.

The Democrat said Tuesday at a Lawrence Chamber of Commerce event those discussions could help push forward a compromise bill to expand some limited off-shore oil drilling while also directing funds to developing renewable energy sources.

"I think when we get back, that momentum is going to take us through," she said while speaking to about 50 people during a series of chamber events that feature the state's congressional delegation.

Boyda touted the House bill that the Congressional Budget Office has estimated would generate $2.6 trillion over 30 years, mostly in royalties. The bill would direct 30 percent of the money to the U.S. Treasury, 30 percent to states for infrastructure costs and the remaining 40 percent to renewable energy development and research, she said.

"That will increase our energy supply so we break our dependence on oil and certainly on foreign oil," said Boyda, who represents the 2nd District, which includes Leavenworth County, much of western Lawrence and much of eastern Kansas.

During her chamber talk, Boyda also mentioned a debate about a second economic stimulus package, this one geared toward providing jobs and building and maintaining infrastructure.

In her first re-election bid, Boyda faces Republican Lynn Jenkins, the state treasurer, in the Nov. 4 general election.

Pat Leopold, campaign manager for Jenkins, said Boyda's statements about the energy bill represented a change in her position on off-shore drilling.

But Liz Montano, a Boyda spokeswoman, said Boyda has consistently advocated for domestic drilling, seeking alternative fuels and conservation measures.

Boyda has voted against bills that included drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, but she has also publicly supported leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, saying it is home to more oil.

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