BURLINGTON – U.S. Sen. Bernard Sanders on Tuesday called for a federal investigation into unusually high gasoline prices in the greater Burlington area compared to other parts of Vermont, New England and other areas throughout the country.
In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz, Sanders urged the Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group and the Federal Trade Commission to conduct a joint investigation to determine why gasoline prices in the greater Burlington area substantially higher than elsewhere.
According to Sanders, during one month, prices in greater Burlington fell 15 cents a gallon - from $3.84 to $3.69 for regular gas. Citing AAA’s daily fuel report, Sanders said Burlington’s gas prices represent the lowest reduction in any of the 15 metro regions throughout New England. The average price drop throughout the New England metro areas was 25.9 cents during the month examined.
Transportation is cited as one reason for higher prices in the Burlington area. But Ben Brockwell, director of data, pricing and information services for the Oil Price Information Service, said hauling gasoline by truck 70 miles would add just 3 cents to the price of a gallon of gas.
In his letter, Sanders asked the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to determine whether or not high prices in Chittenden County were related to the fact that the four largest gas station companies in the county control 67 of the 115 filling stations, or 58 percent of the total.
By JONATHAN WEISMAN
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Congress gave final approval Friday to legislation that combines a two-year transportation measure with bills to extend subsidized student loans and revamp federal flood insurance, wrapping up a bruising session with measures that will be popular on the campaign trail.
The $6.7 billion student loan provision extends the current 3.4 percent interest rate on Stafford loans for one year, financed by changes in pension laws and a restriction on the length of time students could get those loans. The flood insurance program increases premiums and requires people living near levees to have coverage.
Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., hailed the student loan extension Friday, saying it was expected to benefit 19,024 Vermont students with an average savings of $1,020 per borrower. Continue reading
Vermont’s congressional delegation has each issued statements related to the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act.
In individual statements, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernard Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch commented on the decision:
MONTPELIER — Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders says he’s encouraged by President Barack Obama’s choice to head the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Sanders says Allison Macfarlane appears to have the qualifications and credentials to head the commission which he has frequently criticized as being insufficiently tough on the industry it regulates.
Macfarlane has a doctorate in geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is widely regarded as an expert on disposal of nuclear waste. She was a member of a special commission appointed by Obama to study what to do with nation’s nuclear waste following the decision that a planned waste site at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain would not be built.
Macfarlane replaces outgoing NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, who Sanders was a strong safety advocate, but who was criticized by fellow commissioners.
MONTPELIER — Vermont’s congressional delegation is speaking out against the planned doubling of the interest rate on a big student loan program.
The Stafford loan program’s interest rate — currently 3.4 percent — is set to double July 1, and Senate Republicans on Tuesday voted to block an effort to keep that from happening.
Sen. Bernie Sanders says that’s not good news for people just coming out of college and trying to get careers started in a tough economy.
Rep. Peter Welch several weeks ago set up a website where Vermont students and families could tell of their struggles with student debt.
He plans to relay some of those stories in a House floor speech on Wednesday. The full AP story:
WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans derailed a Democratic bill Tuesday that would keep interest rates on federal college loans from doubling July 1 in an election-year battle aimed at millions of students and their parents.
Republicans said they favor preventing the interest rate increase but blocked the Senate from debating the $6 billion measure because they oppose how Democrats would pay for it: boosting Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes on high-earning stockholders of some privately owned corporations.
For the full AP story >>
The U.S. Senate today plans to take up a bill to reform the U.S. Postal Service.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has led a group pressing for stronger language to save rural post offices and mail processing plants, maintain robust delivery standards and Saturday delivery, and save tens of thousands of jobs, according to a press release from Sanders’ office.
“As the Senate begins work on this important legislation, I hope we can agree that, in the digital age of the 21st century, the Postal Service needs to change and become more entrepreneurial. I hope we can also agree that in the midst of a terrible recession it makes no sense to be downsizing the Postal Service by tens of thousands of workers, slow mail delivery service and devastate rural communities by closing their post offices. We can do better. We must do better. And I hope that will be the result of the Senate’s legislative action.”