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Industry Calls for President to Act on Fuel Crisis

July 31, 2008 By: George Dooley

A coalition of some 175-travel industry stakeholders have sent a Signatory Letter to President Bush urging him to call a special session of Congress to enact urgently needed energy policy legislation. The letter was co authored by Bob Crandall, former chairman and CEO of American Airlines, and Kevin Mitchell chairman of the Business Travel Coalition (BTC). The letter was signed by community airports, leading travel industry associations, blue-chip corporations, airlines, hotels and other travel industry groups, including agents and travel management companies.

The Signatory Letter states: “Mr. President, America is now engulfed in a full-blown and deepening energy crisis which is causing irreparable harm to American families, workers, businesses, communities and the economy– and worse lies ahead. We must find solutions to our energy problem– but each day of delay worsens the problem. National leadership– your leadership– is needed to translate aspirations to reality and transform fear into hope. We urge you to call a special session of Congress beginning August 11, 2008 for the sole purpose of debating our energy alternatives and enacting a coherent national energy policy.

“Many of us in the travel industry– which is being decimated by rapidly rising fuel prices and uncertainty about the future– believe that curbing speculation may have merit, but know it is not the whole answer. And we, like other citizens, are weary of partisan posturing, which pits one against another, i.e. those seeking more intensive drilling against those who advocate limiting speculation or those urging use of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve or those supporting other solutions. Our view is that we need to do all we can on every front, but that optimizing our efforts requires an integrated, comprehensive, well thought out national energy policy.

“Members of Congress should welcome such an initiative. The public knows we are now importing 70 percent of our petroleum and that continuing as we have is impossible. In the absence of a sound, long-term energy policy, the fear now taking its toll on businesses and jobs will spread. In such an environment, no Congressional seat will or should be safe this November,” the letter said.

Commenting on the letter and the situation, Crandall added that “our problem is that our national confidence has been eroded by the perception that the most powerful country in the world, which consumes 24 percent of the world’s energy output and spends $700 billion annually to continue doing so, lacks the political will to address the energy crisis. A coherent, long-term national energy policy encompassing a full range of options would reverse the perception that America can no longer deal with her problems.”

“Many members of Congress seem eager to participate in forging an effective, far-reaching bipartisan energy-policy that will lower the price of oil," Mitchell added. "Their efforts must not be thwarted by partisan politics that are currently holding this issue hostage. America needs better from its leaders."

The Signatory Letter can be accessed at

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