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Buck makes local stop on tour

Posted: May 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R- Santa Clarita, right, chats with Randy Cressall, owner of the Chevron gas station and Auto Spa on Valencia Boulevard, during McKeon’s tour of the Santa Clarita Valley on Wednesday.

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Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, believes domestic oil drilling is critical to lowering gasoline prices across the country.

McKeon delivered this message at the Chevron gas station and Auto Spa on Valencia Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon, capping off a daylong tour of local venues as part of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Congressional Constituent Work Week.

“The real problem, as I see it, is that President (Barack) Obama and the administration won’t let us use our own resources — we’ve got lots of oil — if we could drill for it,” he said.

McKeon said that since Obama has entered office, gas prices have doubled nationwide, largely due to the administration’s unfriendly policies toward oil drilling in the U.S.

In recent weeks, McKeon has supported three House bills that aim to address soaring gas prices, partly by lifting bans on domestic drilling.

Canyon Country resident William Oh, 14, was one of about a half-dozen community members who came to hear the Congressman speak Wednesday afternoon. Oh seemed skeptical that oil drilling in the U.S. would help bring down prices at the pumps.

“From a citizen’s point of view, it seems like oil companies are just pocketing those profits,” Oh said.

McKeon responded that while oil companies do reap major profits, a significant chunk of that income pays taxes.

McKeon also said domestic drilling alone wouldn’t be enough to keep gas prices low, and that new solar, wind and natural-gas projects nationwide are needed.

“We should be going out after our own resources,” he added. “If (the administration) would let them drill ... that’s going to make us energy-independent so we don’t have to rely on countries who want us buried,” he said.

On Wednesday morning, McKeon toured the College of the Canyons’ Veterans’ Office to discuss the National Defense Authorization Act and the Santa Clarita Valley International School, a charter school in Castaic, where McKeon discussed an education reform bill he co-authored.

McKeon, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, said he has focused much of his time lately on the defense act, which is set for a House floor vote next week.

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