Sanders to Big Oil: 'Stop Ripping Off the American People!'

Senator Bernie Sanders said today that the outrageously high cost of gasoline is hurting Vermont workers.

He called it "simply unacceptable" that the price of gas has gone up to more than $3-a-gallon in some places while oil companies pocket windfall profits and lavish executives with multi-million-dollar pay packages.

He noted that the head of Occidental Petroleum, for example, received more than $400 million in total compensation in 2006, making him one of the highest paid executives in

Senator Bernie Sanders said today that the outrageously high cost of gasoline is hurting Vermont workers. He called it "simply unacceptable" that the price of gas has gone up to more than $3-a-gallon in some places while oil companies pocket windfall profits and lavish executives with multi-million-dollar pay packages. He noted that the head of Occidental Petroleum, for example, received more than $400 million in total compensation in 2006, making him one of the highest paid executives in U.S. history. Exxon-Mobil last year rewarded its boss with a $398 million retirement package. Sanders stressed that the nation needs to break its dependence on fossil fuels, encourage energy efficiency, and invest in renewable and alternative sources of energy, such as bio-fuels, solar and wind power. Meanwhile, he said, price gouging by oil companies must be stopped. "Since President Bush has been in the White House, the price of gas at the pump has nearly doubled," Sanders told a Capitol Hill press conference. "The time is long overdue for the United States Congress to summon up the courage to stand up to the oil industry, one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, D.C., and to say very clearly, 'Stop ripping off the American people.' " He joined seven other freshmen senators at the press conference to call on Congress to stand up to the oil industry. One legislative proposal would tax windfall profits. Asked about the prospect of a Bush veto, Sanders said, "If, in fact, we were successful in passing a windfall profits tax, would the president veto it? I suspect he would. But our job is to represent the American people. If he wants to represent the oil companies and their outrageous profits and the kinds of salaries and compensation they give, that's his business. We've got to do what we can do."Chart courtesy of VermontGasPrices.com. To view other informative charts click on of the following: