HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY–Select Committee Releases Petroleum ProductPricing Report Nova Scotia should enact legislation by the spring of 2005 tohelp stabilize the price of products like gasoline and homeheating fuel, says the Select Committee on Petroleum ProductPricing. In a report submitted to the clerk of the legislature, thecommittee says its first preference is for legislation that wouldforbid corporations that are involved in the exploration,extraction or refining of petroleum products from retailing thoseproducts in Nova Scotia. If that is not feasible, the report says, legislation should beput in place that would implement a system of regulationsoverseen by the province’s Utility and Review Board. “This was not an easy exercise to complete in just two months,”committee chair Bill Dooks said today, Sept. 1. “The compressedtime frame made it difficult to fully explore everything thatcommittee members wanted to explore. It was our consensus,however, that the province has to implement change in order tobetter protect the consumer.” The all-party committee was created in May of 2004 to examine thesupply and pricing of fuels, including gasoline and home heatingoil, to determine whether current prices are justified and fair.It heard from 51 presenters during public hearings across theprovince and received about 70 written submissions. Other recommendations in the committee’s final report suggestthat legislation require all refineries to sell their products atthe same price to bulk buyers and that it forbid below-costselling. The report notes the critical role that fuel plays in theeconomic and social health of remote communities and recommendsthat the province find ways to support the continued availabilityof fuel supplies necessary. The committee also says more must bedone to increase energy efficiency and to encourage alternativesto traditional reliance on fossil fuels. Members of the select committee said they were disappointed thatmore consumers did not attend the public hearings this summer andthat some large oil companies did not participate in the process.But they note that this should be only one step in an ongoingprocess that must be carefully monitored in order to providestability for consumers and the industry. The Select Committee Report on Petroleum Product Pricing isavailable on the website atwww.gov.ns.ca/legislature/COMMITTEES/petroleum_product_pricing.html .