Rep. Maurice Hinchey

The itch to control the U.S. oil industry is spreading among Democrats in Washington, with Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., adding his voice to a recent threat to nationalize the energy companies’ assets.

“We (the government) should own the refineries,” Hinchey said today, according to a Fox News alert. “Then we can control how much gets out into the market.”

WND earlier reported when U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., during a grilling of oil executives by a panel of U.S. House members, threatened to nationalize the industry if executives were unsuccessful in bringing pump prices for gasoline down.

A report by Fox News, captured in a clip posted on, showed Waters challenging the president of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, to guarantee the prices consumers pay will go down if the oil companies are allowed to drill wherever they want off of U.S. shores.

Hofmeister replied: “I can guarantee to the American people, because of the inaction of the United States Congress, ever-increasing prices unless the demand comes down.”

The Shell exec said paying $5 at the pump “will look like a very low price in the years to come if we are prohibited from finding new reserves, new opportunities to increase supplies.”

Waters responded, in part, “And guess what this liberal would be all about. This liberal will be about socializing … uh, um. …”

The congresswoman paused to collect her thoughts.

“Would be about, basically, taking over, and the government running all of your companies. …”

The oil executives responded, according to Fox News, by saying they’ve seen this before, in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela.

Fox reported today the latest statements from Hinchey came as Democrats responded to President Bush’s call for Congress to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling.

Democrats said a committee vote on an amendment to lift a ban on offshore drilling was cancelled so representatives could focus on a supplemental Iraq spending bill.

Hinchey, one of the more ardent opponents of off-shore drilling, simply said Congress will do what is “in the best interest of the American people. Not major corporations.”


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