Peoria Journal Star

October 8, 2005

LaHood votes against refinery bill

By Copley News Service
Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Peoria, was one of 13 House Republicans who joined with Democrats on Friday to oppose a controversial bill aiming at boosting refinery capacity.

The bill passed by two votes, 212-210, after GOP leaders extended the voting time to persuade enough lawmakers to vote for it.

Another Illinois Republican, Rep. Tim Johnson of Urbana, also voted against the bill. The rest of the state's congressional delegation voted along party lines.

In the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, advocates said streamlining regulations to encourage more refineries is needed. But critics said the bill would lead to more air pollution.

LaHood complained that the bill was too generous to big oil companies and that the House was in too much of a rush to pass it, bypassing the usual procedure of airing issues first in committee.

"I'm for more refining capacity, but I think this thing was rushed to the floor and I just think it is not going to reach the goals that it was trying to attain in terms of providing more refining capacity," LaHood said.

"I just think it gave the oil companies too much. They're making over 300 percent profits now," he said. "... We ought to be drilling in Alaska and we ought to be raising the gasoline standards and neither one of them was in there. I don't think this was the fix for the high price of gasoline."