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Letters, March 23

Don’t blame Biden

Contrary to Don Skillman’s letter Mar. 17, President Biden has not restricted our oil supply. We’re pumping more now than when Trump was president, and Biden has opened leases in the Gulf that will produce billions of barrels for many years. Short supply is not the issue.

Because of fracking, we produce more than we consume. Since 2018, the U.S. has been the world’s largest producer of oil (https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=709&t=6) and natural gas (https://www.worldometers.info/gas/gas-production-by-country/). We are, technically, energy independent.

The problem is that the international marketplace controls the price. So when demand goes up elsewhere, our prices go up here.

American energy independence has been a goal since Nixon was president, and we now have it. But American consumers have not benefited because our supply is controlled by private companies who work for their investors, not the American consumer.

We do not allow our food supply, timberlands, water quality, nor price of electricity to be administered solely by the marketplace, but we do so for oil and gas. We can decide that gas is a necessary commodity like electricity and regulate prices, or we can invest in renewables to decrease our demand for gasoline. Sniping at Biden distracts from the real issues.

Phillip Keuter


Bentz supports veterans

At the end of his letter published on March 21, Allen Hallmark concludes, “Cliff Bentz does not support veterans.” He bases this on Rep. Bentz’s no vote on HR 3967, the “Honoring our PACT Act of 2021” which directs the Veterans Affairs Department to add to its current burn pit policy at a cost of more than $285 billion over 10 years.

What he does not mention is that Bentz is a co-sponsor of HR 6659, the Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act, which has already passed the Senate (as S 3541) on a voice vote with the bipartisan support of every member on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. This bill, unlike the version Hallmark supports, does not add billions of dollars of pork, including three new committees, and would cost only $1 billion over the same 10-year period. Adding more bureaucrats in D.C. is not a good way to help veterans in the Rogue Valley.

Just so Hallmark understands the level of Bentz’s support for veterans, he has three veterans on staff in his district to help keep him up to speed on issues important to veterans.

John F. Howard, retired U.S. Navy commander