WASHINGTON – As gas prices soar to the second highest level in history and Big Oil corporations prepare to announce their record second quarter profits, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) announced today his plans to file an amendment to the Gulf Coast Energy Security bill, scheduled to be considered this week in the Senate.

Kerry’s amendment is modeled after his Small Business and Farm Energy Emergency Relief Act, which the Senate has already passed twice, and would give small businesses access to low-interest loans when energy costs are 40 percent higher than the average of the previous two years. Had President Bush signed this provision into law, small businesses could have received this assistance at various times over the past three years. Kerry’s proposal is also included in the Democrat’s energy plan, the Clean EDGE Act introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).

Following is a statement from Kerry:

“As gas prices once again approach record levels, Big Oil continues to rake in record profits. While Republicans continue to grant Big Oil its wish list of special interest favors, our small businesses suffering with energy costs remain lost in the shuffle. Americans are paying the price of a broken energy policy in everything from higher grocery bills to $60 fill-ups at the pump. Skyrocketing energy prices are creating make-or-break decisions for small business owners who have to decide between keeping their lights on and keeping their customers.

“Washington has a choice between ending corporate welfare and providing real energy solutions. Instead of more tax breaks for the largest oil corporations, we need a break at the pump for the American people. We need to provide relief in the form of low interest loans to the small businesses, farmers and truckers who drive our economy. And we need to invest in smart technologies and conservations measures to make America energy independent once and for all.”