Brindisi, Tenney spar over oil bill

Published Jun 18, 2018 at 4:00pm

Anthony Brindisi, a Democratic candidate for Congress in the state’s 22nd Congressional District, today urged incumbent U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney to sponsor a House version of the “American Oil for American Families Act” that was introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Brindisi, a state assemblyman from Utica who is challenging Tenney, R-22, New Hartford in the November election, said the bill could help lower the area’s retail gas prices.

The bill seeks to ban the export of American crude oil and other petroleum products taken from federal lands and waters, where drilling companies pay no real price to the federal government for the extraction, according to Brindisi’s Congressional election campaign. It would boost the domestic fuel supply and help lower the prices, the announcement said.

“You don’t need to be an economist to understand that big oil siphons billions from our collective pockets when they strip mine our federal lands and waters without throwing so much as a penny back to the consumer or taxpayer,” said Brindisi. He spoke at a news conference today outside the Speedway gas station in Utica at 2639 Genesee St.

However, Brindisi’s campaign announcement said Tenney has taken over $50,000 in political donations from the oil and gas industry, according to a report at opensecrets.org online. He said that is “disgraceful,” adding that he has “long held a position of not taking a dime from big oil or gas companies fueling higher prices and continued mega mergers.”

But in response, Tenney campaign manager Raychel Renna said today that “Anthony Brindisi complaining about high gas prices is as disingenuous as it gets. New York has the fourth highest gas tax in the nation as a direct result of Albany’s policies, not the federal government’s. Gov. Cuomo and Anthony Brindisi’s extreme anti-energy agenda has given our district higher gas and electricity prices, and some of the most economically depressed areas in the country.”

The U.S. Senate legislation seeks to keep American-produced oil here at home, said Brindisi. Currently, about 300 million barrels of petroleum products are imported into the U.S. each month, his announcement said.

It said gas prices this week at stations listed by GasBuddy.com ranged from $2.97 to $3.04 in Utica; $2.88 to $2.99 in Rome and Oneida; and $2.95 to $2.99 in Binghamton.

“Oil that’s being taken from our public lands should go first to lower gas prices for American drivers—not to fuel profits for oil companies. This is a common-sense proposal that Congresswoman Tenney should be willing to embrace, and I urge her to recognize everyday pain at the pump and do something,” Brindisi said.

But the Tenney election campaign office in turn raised several questions for Brindisi. Among them: “Why didn’t you take action in Albany to lower the state’s gas taxes?”; “Whether it’s property taxes or gas taxes, where have you been on lowering the tax burden” in the state?; “How is your opposition to natural gas and shale development lowering energy prices?” Also, citing Brindisi’s support for a cap and trade or a carbon tax while “experts say a carbon tax would drive up energy prices, especially on electricity, hitting lower and middle income families hard,” Tenney’s campaign office asked “How is that going to help families in our area?”