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Power Breakfast: Gas Price Hearings On Capitol Hill

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Today: the second of two hearings in the House this week inspired by the recent spike in gas prices.

Washington state Republican Doc Hastings is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.

"Listen, I don't think $4 per gallon gas is a partisan issue, because that affects everybody no matter where they are," Hastings reasons. "The mere fact that prices are rising, we have all these resources and we're not doing anything with them, I think it becomes more of a policy issue than a partisan issue."

Hastings says the U.S. needs to become less dependent on foreign sources. For that matter, everybody in Congress says the U.S. needs to become less dependent on foreign resources. It's not the ends but the means that are at issue.

"The way you do that is to utilize the resources that we have. And we have these resources on federal lands, so that's what these hearings are all about," Hastings says.

In this case, federal "lands" include the outer continental shelf. Hence renewed calls for off-shore drilling are the topic of today's discussion. And counter-calls for renewed focus on demand-side solutions, as in conservation. And renewed focus on renewables. In the "all-of-the-above" rhetoric of Congress, one of those renewable sources is, of course, nuclear.

This week's gas price hearings were planned and announced last week. Before a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan and triggered the possible makings of a nuclear disaster.

According to the chairman's office, the agenda of today's hearing hasn't changed. Even if the global energy context undeniably has.

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