Massa Press Conference: $2/gallon Gas?

Today's Massa press conference concentrated on oil, and Randy Kuhl's plan for $2/gallon gas.

Most of the press conference was a variation on one theme: what was Kuhl thinking? Massa's response, generally, was "ask Kuhl", and then he would dive into the specifics of each question.

Massa began with a challenge. After noting that Kuhl's promise would require a "miracle", he said:

If he wants to promise and guarantee, I'd ask him to put his personal money on the line, so when this falls through like these empty promises always do, the people in Corning can turn to him for a check. [...] It's irresponsible to claim that if we drill in ANWR we will see an immediate benefit [...] Ask him waht Santa Claus is coming down his chimney to make this happen.

There were a number of reporters on the call (Rob Montana from the Hornell Evening Tribune, Rick Miller of the Olean Times-Herald, Bob Recotta of the Corning Leader, and Brian Somebody from WLEA). A couple of them asked variations on one question: A majority of Americans support offshore drilling and drilling in ANWR. What was Massa's take?

Massa began by agreeing with John McCain. He thinks that the states with oil off their coasts should have the right to allow drilling off their coasts. He noted that two Republican governors, Florida's Jeb Bush and California's Arnold Schwarzenegger, have opposed drilling off of their coasts.

Massa added a second point on coastal drilling: "I don't want a penny of profit to pay for the CEO of Exxon's $400 million golden parachute." He says that any profits from drilling offshore should go to "creating an entirely new future for us". Specifically, he mentioned that we should "take the profits and put a hybrid in the garage of every middle-class family in America."

One reporter asked if this was a reversal of his position on ANWR. Massa pointed out that John McCain had previously opposed drilling in ANWR, and that Massa still opposes it.

Massa also clarified his position on oil company profits, saying that he thought the companies could make 2-3% on drilling offshore, not their current level of profit, which he described as "gouging".

When asked why he thinks that a majority of Americans (over 60%) favor drilling, Massa said it was because "people want a solution."

He added:

As long as the dollar is worth half what it was two years ago, the price of petroleum is not going to go down. You cannot drill your way out of this problem. It will take 8 years to get those wellheads into production.


The problem is old Washington just wants to do business as normal. It's like a broken record, thinking we can drill our way out of this problem. Pretty soon, we'll drill off California, and those oil fields will be gone. In New York State, Pennsylvania, West Texas, Southern California, over and over again we see oil fields depleted and abandoned. We have one more shot to get this right.

I asked Massa about shale, which was mentioned in Kuhl's press release:

I have no dobut that we have a number of carbon-based possibilities in the future. They are not renewable, have a finite timeline for impact, don't address the reality of global climate change, and they don't change the playing field. We need a whole new ballgame -- all we're getting is more of the same. If your oil policy is being driven by Exxon-Mobil, the only people that will benefit are Exxon-Mobil.

Massa will be making a more detailed announcement of his energy strategy at the grand opening of his Corning campaign office on Friday.