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Congress tries beefing up domestic oil

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Scott Jagow: So this week, Congress will try to show voters its doing something about the price of oil. The House has a bill designed to encourage more domestic oil, and to discourage speculation. John Dimsdale reports from Washington.


John Dimsdale: Republicans say voters now support letting oil companies drill in more places, especially offshore. But Democrats, like Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey, say companies should first explore their existing leases.

Ed Markey: Oil and gas companies could start producing right now on 68 million acres that they already own. But it seems that big oil is more interested in pumping up prices.

Markey’s bill would charge for unused leases. But Deutsche Bank energy economist Adam Sieminski says companies have decided those lands aren’t worth exploring.

Adam Sieminski: Telling the oil industry that they’ve already got acres just makes absolutely no sense when the acres that they have are not the ones that we need for the fuels that are gonna help us get outta the jam that we’re in.

Democrats will also try to beef up regulations on oil futures trading to discourage speculation and spend more money for public transportation.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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