County lawmakers want Washington to use oil reserves

Officials in Essex County want President Barack Obama to dip into the nation's strategic petroleum reserve in order to cope with sky-rocketing gasoline prices.

During Monday's meeting of the county Ways & Means Committee, supervisors passed a resolution urging the region's lawmakers to lobby for the utilization of oil reserves.

The resolution will be forwarded to Congressmen Bill Owens and Chris Gibson, as well as Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer.

But supervisors in Essex County may be preaching to the choir.

Owens, Schumer, Gillibrand, and Gibson have already called upon Obama to tap into the nation's strategic petroleum reserve.

Gibson says the rising cost of gas is a "crushing burden" for families and businesses. He says the country must pursue an energy strategy that utilizes resources available in the U.S.

"We need to expand domestic production and continue to develop alternative forms of energy that make us less reliant on foreign sources of oil," he said.

Gibson says he would support tapping reserves in the short-term, but such a move would need to be attached to an increase in domestic production.

Obama has called for an investigation into oil company profits.

Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava says such an investigation is warranted.

"I am in total agreement with him [Obama] in regards to the hedge funds and the profits that the oil companies are making," he said.

Here in the North Country, gasoline has eclipsed the $4 per gallon mark. Some observers note that tapping the nation's oil reserves would have a negligible impact on the overall cost of gasoline.

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