A Visit from the White House and a New Home
I was honored to host Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), in Kansas City on Tuesday. Among the tour stops in the morning was a groundbreaking in Gladstone for a new Energy Star geothermal-powered home. The home will be built using Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds provided by the Recovery Act by the local nonprofit Builders Development Corporation. It is the first new home built in Gladstone in the last 3 years.
The visit also included a briefing and tour of the Green Impact Zone in the urban core. I was able to show the Chairwoman firsthand the new sidewalks and bus stops along Troost, as well as the new Troost Bridge – all made possible through the TIGER grant from the Recovery Act. New projects to come were also highlighted – particularly the Bancroft School Redevelopment.
Last, but certainly not least, we visited with high school students at Minddrive. Minddrive is a nonprofit organization that provides one-on-one mentoring to at-risk urban youth, renews their enthusiasm for learning, and teaches them life-long skills such as confidence and public speaking. And they also learn to build electric cars by hand. One student who spoke with us not only can build computers from scratch, he showed the other students how to do so as well and they built several computers for the Minddrive classroom. Several of the students now have plans to go to college, whereas two or three years ago college was not even a possibility. It was awe-inspiring to see such confident, poised young people who not only have improved their grades, but have dreams for the future.
Did you know you can use my website, available here, to send me an email? To request a meeting for your group or organization? To request a tour of the White House, or the Capitol? Now you can see photos and videos, upcoming events, the latest press releases and important updates. My staff and I are working to make the site better and more useful for you all the time. Make sure you bookmark http://www.cleaver.house.gov/ in your browser.
What's Going on with Gas Prices?
Gas prices are back on the rise. Just when the economy is showing renewed signs of improvement, Americans are being hit hard at the pump. Gas prices in Kansas City are around $3.50, and are above $4 a gallon in many parts of the country and climbing. That’s up 14 cents a gallon from a week ago and a 29-cent increase from a month ago according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. The average American household spends $3,348 of its after tax income on gasoline and diesel. A 10 cent rise in prices will add another $93.25 to that figure this year. We know we can’t drill our way out of this problem. With oil production at its highest levels in nearly a decade, it’s becoming more and more apparent that this leap in prices has more to do with Wall Street speculators than actual supply and demand.
Normally, speculating accounts for about 30 percent of the oil trading in commodity markets, while producers and end users make up about 70 percent of trading. As of today, we have seen the system reverse itself, and speculators are now controlling 70 percent of oil trading with consumer activity only accounting for about 30 percent. This cycle must be stopped both in the short-term, by putting an end to the era of protecting Big Oil, and in the long-term, by developing better technologies that will stem our need for more and more gasoline. We need an “All of the Above” plan to address the nation’s energy needs. We need a comprehensive approach to addressing our present and future energy needs—and we have already started laying the groundwork to spark a change in the way we get and use our energy.
Domestic oil and gas production has increased over the last four years, and right now, American oil production is the highest it’s been in eight years. But there's no one solution to our gas price problems. We need a sustained, all-of-the-above approach to American energy, increasing the efficiency of the vehicles we drive, investing in advanced technologies and alternative fuels, and expanding responsible domestic oil and gas production. You can find more information about what's going on with gas prices here.
Emanuel Cleaver, II
Member of Congress