Washington — President George W. Bush on Tuesday at a White House press conference urged Congress to consider the problem of U.S. energy prices, bemoaning the shortage of U.S. refineries, which he blamed for the shortfall of oil production.
"I want to make sure that Congress continues to focus on energy," Bush told reporters. "The storm created a short-term problem, and that is when you shut down refineries, it creates a bubble in the system."
The president said one of his actions in response to Hurricane Katrina”s effect on U.S. refineries was to suspend "all blending rules in order to be able to more likely import foreign gasoline." Bush said this "helped make up the difference between the refinery capacity shutdown and the demands of the American people."
However, Bush said, "there is a bubble moving throughout the system." The president said that the Congress must recognize that there are "tight energy supplies…and one way to deal with tight energy supplies is to increase supply. And a good way to increase supply is to build refineries."
The president said it was "amazing" to think about the fact that the United States has not built a new refinery since the 1970”s. "And then we had the storm and it took refinery capacity off," Bush said. That "creates a tight supply situation which causes prices to go up…so Congress needs to deal with ."