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US Senator names a cause behind surging oil prices

11 march 2011, 00:49
Senior US Senator James Inhofe have ruled out violent unrest across the Middle East as a main cause of surging oil and gasoline prices, placing the blame instead on plans to curb greenhouse gases, AFP reports.

"A lot of people are saying that the gas prices that are going up are a result, partially, of what's happening over there. That isn't the real problem," said Republican Senator James Inhofe, his party's senior member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and a climate change skeptic.

Inhofe said that "the real problem" was President Barack Obama's efforts to enact a cap-and-trade plan to curb emissions of greenhouse gases blamed by scientists for global warming.

"My message today simply is the higher gas prices are simply a product of this administration's goal," said the lawmaker, effectively contradicting market analysts who have pinned the rise on regional turmoil.

Inhofe's comments came as Republicans, who have vowed to roll back environmental laws they blame for stifling economic growth, sought to harness soaring gas prices to assault Obama's energy policies.

Turmoil in Libya has fueled a sharp rise in oil prices that eased Tuesday when Saudi Arabia -- the world's largest supplier -- said it would counter any disruptions of the global market.

Some Democrats have pressed Obama to tap into the U.S. strategic oil reserves to brake the rise in oil prices.

The White House's foes have been ramping up calls for more domestic production of energy, blasting Obama's decision to impose an offshore drilling moratorium after a giant Gulf spill last year from a well exploited by BP.

Following the spill, the largest ever manmade environmental disaster in the United States, Washington imposed a moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, which it lifted in October.

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