Marsha Blackburn on Energy & Oil
Republican Representative (TN-7)
Marsha Blackburn (R): No. "The science around it is not a settled science." Applauded withdrawal from Paris Climate agreement.
Phil Bredesen (D): Yes. "It's a serious issue." Supported US moving toward 25% renewable energy by 2025, although thought Obama's Clean Energy Plan should have been passed by Congress, not regulation.
Q: Support government subsidies for renewable energy?
Marsha Blackburn (R): No. Has voted no on related bills. Considers it inappropriate intervention in the economy.
Phil Bredesen (D): Yes. Early advocate of developing this sector. "It seems beyond dispute that `green energy' will be an area of vast importance and growth."
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Young, R-AK]: The Americans suffering from $4 a gallon gas today must feel like they're experiencing a sense of deja vu. In 2008, when gasoline prices reached a record high of $4.11 per gallon, the public outcry forced Congress to act. That fall, Congress lifted the offshore drilling ban that had been in place for decades. Three years later, most Americans would likely be shocked to learn that no energy development has happened in these new areas.
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Markey, D-MA]. In the first 3 months of this year, Exxon-Mobil made $10 billion off of the American consumer; Shell made $8 billion; BP made $7 billion. So what are these companies asking for? These companies are now asking that we open up the beaches of California, Florida & New England to drill for oil. People who live near those beaches don't want oil coming in the way it did in the Gulf of Mexico. Right now, those oil companies are centered down in the Gulf of Mexico. People are concerned because those companies have blocked any new safety reforms that would protect against another catastrophic spill. We have to oppose this bill because, first of all, they already have 60 million acres of American land that they haven't drilled on yet, which has about 11 billion barrels of oil underneath it and an equivalent amount of natural gas. This bill is just a giveaway to Exxon-Mobil and Shell.
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Waxman, D-CA]: This bill is a direct assault on the Clean Air Act. Its premise is that climate change is a hoax and carbon pollution does not endanger health and welfare. But climate change is real. It is caused by pollution, and it is a serious threat to our health and welfare. We need to confront these realities. American families count on the EPA to keep our air and water clean. But this bill has politicians overruling the experts at EPA, and it exempts our biggest polluters from regulation. If this bill is enacted, the EPA's ability to control dangerous carbon pollution will be gutted.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. ED MARKEY (D, MA-7): For the first time in the history of our country, we will put enforceable limits on global warming pollution. At its core, however, this is a jobs bill. It will create millions of new, clean-energy jobs in whole new industries with incentives to drive competition in the energy marketplace. It sets ambitious and achievable standards for energy efficiency and renewable energy from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass so that by 2020, 20% of America's energy will be clean.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BOB GOODLATTE (R, VA-6): I agree that this bill has very important consequences, but those consequences are devastating for the future of the economy of this country. It's a fantasy that this legislation will turn down the thermostat of the world by reducing CO2 gas emissions when China & India & other nations are pumping more CO2 gas into the atmosphere all the time. We would be far better served with legislation that devotes itself to developing new technologies before we slam the door on our traditional sources of energy like coal and oil and and nuclear power. We support the effort for energy efficiency. We do not support this kind of suicide for the American economy. Unfortunately, cap and trade legislation would only further cripple our economy.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes: Rep. RICHARD NEAL (D, MA-2): This bill contains extensions of popular tax incentives that expired at the end of last year. This needs to get under way. The R&D tax credit is important. This bill includes a number of popular and forward-thinking incentives for energy efficiency. This is a very balanced bill which does no harm to the Federal Treasury. It asks that hedge fund managers pay a bit more, and it delays an international tax break that hasn't gone into effect yet. It is responsible legislation.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. DAVE CAMP (R, MI-4): We are conducting another purely political exercise on a tax bill that is doomed in the other body because of our House majority's insistence on adhering to the misguided PAYGO rules. The Senate acted on a bipartisan basis to find common ground on this issue. They approved a comprehensive tax relief package containing extenders provisions that are not fully offset, as many Democrats would prefer, but contain more offsets than Republicans would like. Why is this our only option? Because the Senate, which has labored long and hard to develop that compromise, has indicated in no uncertain terms that it is not going to reconsider these issues again this year.
[The bill was killed in the Senate].
Congressional Summary: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide Tax incentives for energy production and conservation, to extend certain expiring provisions, and to provide individual income tax relief.
Opponents argument for voting NAY: Sen. SPECTER: H.R. 6049 would revive important tax provisions that expired at the end of 2007 and extend provisions that are set to expire at the end of 2008. I support extension of the R&D tax credit, the renewable energy tax incentives, and many other important provisions in this package.
Despite the positive elements of this legislation, the main sticking point is whether temporary extensions of tax relief should be offset with permanent tax increases elsewhere. The White House issued a statement recommending a Presidential veto of this bill in its current form. [Vote NAY to] allow the Senate to work its will and pass legislation that can be quickly signed by the President.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Rep. MATSUI: Today's debate is about investing in renewable energy, which will chart a new direction for our country's energy policy. This bill restores balance to our energy policy after years of a tax structure that favors huge oil companies. Today's legislation will transfer some of the massive profits enjoyed by these oil companies and invest them in renewable resources that will power our economy in the future.
OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Rep. SMITH of Texas: I oppose H.R. 5351. While it is well and good to encourage alternative energy development, Congress should not do so by damaging our domestic oil and gas industry. In 2006 all renewable energy sources provided only 6% of the US domestic energy supply. In contrast, oil and natural gas provided 58% of our domestic energy supply. The numbers don't lie. Oil and natural gas fuel our economy and sustain our way of life.
Furthermore, almost 2 million Americans are directly employed in the oil and natural gas industry. Punishing one of our Nation's most important industries does not constitute a national energy policy.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Bill passed House, 236-182
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. PELOSI: This bill makes the largest investment in homegrown biofuels in history. We know that America's farmers will fuel America's independence. We will send our energy dollars to middle America, not to the Middle East.
Rep. TIERNEY: This bill incorporates the Green Jobs Act, which will make $120 million a year available to begin training workers in the clean energy sector. 35,000 people per year can benefit from vocational education for "green-collar jobs" that can provide living wages & upward mobility.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. SHIMKUS: I'm upset about the bill because it has no coal provisions. What about coal-to-liquid jobs? Those are real jobs with great wages. Energy security? We have our soldiers deployed in the Middle East because it's an important national security interest. Why? We know why. Crude oil. How do we decrease that importance of the Persian Gulf region? We move to coal-to-liquid technologies. What is wrong with this bill? Everything. No soy diesel. No ethanol. No coal. Nothing on nuclear energy. No expansion. There is no supply in this bill. Defeat this bill.
Rep. RAHALL: [This bill omits a] framework to sequester carbon dioxide to ensure the future use of coal in an environmentally responsible fashion. We can talk about biofuels all we want, but the fact is that coal produces half of our electricity for the foreseeable future. We must aggressively pursue technologies to capture and store the carbon dioxide.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Gas prices have now reached an all-time record high, $3.27 a gallon, topping even the 1981 spike. This won't be the end of these skyrocketing price hikes either.
OPEC oil exports represent 70% of all the oil traded internationally. For years now, OPEC's price-fixing conspiracy has unfairly driven up the price and cost of imported crude oil to satisfy the greed of oil exporters. We have long decried OPEC, but have done little or nothing to stop this. The time has come.
This bill makes fixing oil prices or illegal under US law, just as it would be for any company engaging in the same conduct. It attempts to break up this cartel and subject these colluders and their anticompetitive practices to the antitrust scrutiny that they so richly deserve.
Opponents support voting NO because:
Proponents support voting YES because:
This legislation seeks to end the unwarranted tax breaks & subsidies which have been lavished on Big Oil over the last several years, at a time of record prices at the gas pump and record oil industry profits. Big Oil is hitting the American taxpayer not once, not twice, but three times. They are hitting them at the pump, they are hitting them through the Tax Code, and they are hitting them with royalty holidays put into oil in 1995 and again in 2005.
It is time to vote for the integrity of America's resources, to vote for the end of corporate welfare, to vote for a new era in the management of our public energy resources.
Opponents support voting NO because:
I am wearing this red shirt today, because this shirt is the color of the bill that we are debating, communist red. It is a taking. It will go to court, and it should be decided in court.
This bill will increase the competitive edge of foreign oil imported to this country. If the problem is foreign oil, why increase taxes and make it harder to produce American oil and gas? That makes no sense. We should insert taxes on all foreign oil imported. That would raise your money for renewable resources. But what we are doing here today is taxing our domestic oil. We are raising dollars supposedly for renewable resources, yet we are still burning fossil fuels.
Proponents support voting YES because:
This amendment would preserve the longstanding moratorium so important to coastal States. The amendment would also preserve the underlying bill's one redeeming feature, the renegotiating of the cash-cow leases now pouring billions of dollars into already stuffed oil industry coffers.
We have only 5% of the world's population, but 30% of the world's automobiles, and we produce 45% of the world's automotive carbon dioxide emissions. This addiction harms our environment, our economy and our national security. This underlying bill attempts to bribe coastal States into drilling off their shores by promising them a lot more money.
Opponents support voting NO because:
For 30 years, opponents of American energy have cloaked their arguments in an environmental apocalypse. They have tried to make the argument that no matter what we do, it will destroy the environment.
This amendment takes out all of the energy production. It is a callous disregard for the jobs that have been lost over the last 30 years of following an anti-energy policy. The people who work in oil and gas, their jobs are in the Middle East or Canada. We have exported their jobs. If this amendment passes, we are going to send the rest of them. We should know how important it is to create jobs in this country, to create clean natural gas in this country, so that it can be the bridge to the future.
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 CAF scores as follows:
The Campaign for America's Future (CAF) is a center for ideas and action that works to build an enduring majority for progressive change. The Campaign advances a progressive economic agenda and a vision of the future that works for the many, not simply the few. The Campaign is leading the fight for America's priorities--against privatization of Social Security, for investment in energy independence, good jobs and a sustainable economy, for an ethical and accountable Congress and for high quality public education.
About the CAF report, "Energy Independence: Record vs. Rhetoric":
Energy independence has surfaced as a defining issue in the current elections. Are most candidates and both parties truly committed? To help distinguish the demonstrated level of support for homegrown, clean energy alternatives, we examined the voting records of current U.S. Representatives and Senators on bills vital to promoting those interests. Key pieces of legislation included goals for independence, and subsidies for the development of alternatives compared to subsidies for drilling and digging. We then compared votes on these issues with campaign contributions from major oil interests. The results show strong inverse correlations between political contributions from big oil and votes for energy independence.
Congressional Summary:Amends the Energy Conservation and Production Act to repeal provisions concerning the Department of Energy's weatherization assistance program for low-income persons to increase energy efficiency of dwellings.
Proponent's Comments (Rep. Chuck Fleischmann Press Release):Fleischmann said, "I have worked since day one to balance our budget and stop the 'tax, borrow, spend' mentality that has dominated Washington for far too long. I am glad to introduce legislation to end the Weatherization Assistance Program in order to save billions of dollars."
Other federal programs, such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), are already in place to assist low-income households in managing energy costs. The Dept. of Energy's Inspector General conducted a review of this program concluding that weatherization work on homes was poorly administered and led to potentially harmful effects for home inhabitants.
Opponent's Comments (GreenBuildingAdvisor.com, Nov. 22, 2011):The purpose of the measure is to eliminate the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which provides free weatherization services for low-income households. The WAP has historically been ignored by politicians as a cost-cutting target because its annual budget was, at a few million dollars, relatively small. But its budget ballooned dramatically--to about $5 billion over three years--under the federal stimulus program.
The congressman says the WAP is dispensable because LIHEAP is already in place. Weatherization improvements, however, provide ongoing energy savings rather than one-time assistance with energy bills.
Fleischmann points to a DOE review that called the expanded program "poorly administered." But the main concern identified in that report was the sluggish rollout of services in many states, due to confusion over wage and other implementation requirements.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has operated continuously--with various name changes and jurisdictional changes--for more than 200 years. The Committee has developed what is arguably the broadest (non-tax-oriented) jurisdiction of any Congressional committee. Today, it maintains principal responsibility for legislative oversight relating to telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health, air quality and environmental health, the supply and delivery of energy, and interstate and foreign commerce in general. This jurisdiction extends over five Cabinet-level departments and seven independent agencies--from the Department of Energy, Health and Human Services, the Transportation Department to the Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration, and Federal Communications Commission--and sundry quasi-governmental organizations.
Congressional Summary of H.R.97:
Congressional Summary of H.R.153, "Ensuring Affordable Energy Act":
OnTheIssues Explanation:These two related bills exclude the EPA from taking on global warming by defining greenhouse gases as a "pollutant." These bills do not directly oppose regulating greenhouse gases nor cap-and-trade; either could still be accomplished by an act of Congress. Instead, they REQUIRE an act of Congress, rather than letting the President and the EPA bypass Congress by regulatory implementation instead of legislative implementation.
Congressional Summary:Authorizes a state to establish a program covering the leasing and permitting processes, regulatory requirements, and any other provisions by which the state would exercise its rights to develop all forms of energy resources on available federal land in the state.
Proponent's argument for bill: (The Heritage Foundation): This important piece of legislation would allow state control of energy resources on federal lands. America has harnessed technological advances in recent years in drilling and extracting energy resources that have caused a surge in domestic oil and gas in several areas of the country. Most of that production has occurred on private and state-owned lands, not federal lands where output has been on decline. The benefits of transferring power to the states over their own energy decisions: States have an interest in both boosting their economies by tapping into the energy resources available to them and protecting the environment. More importantly, they are best suited to fulfill these two goals, not the federal government.
Opponent's argument against bill:(The Wilderness Society): Oil and gas development can do serious damage to wildlands and waters, especially when it takes place in sensitive areas. The federal government began leasing public lands for energy development in 1920. We see energy development as a valid use of some public lands, but there are some wild places that must be protected. We work to ensure that the most stringent environmental precautions are applied when oil and gas development occurs on our public lands and that development does not happen in fragile wild areas. The Wilderness Society also makes sure that our most ecologically sensitive areas, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, remain permanently off limits to oil and gas companies.
Excerpts from letter to House leadership:
"We offer our full support for allowing the most anti-competitive and economically harmful tax provisions, specifically the wind energy production tax credit (PTC), to expire. Extending the wind PTC is a key priority for the Obama Administration and its efforts to prop up wind and other favored "green energy" technologies. Under President Obama, federal subsidies for wind have grown from $476 million per year when he first took office to $4.98 billion per year today. A one-year extension of the wind PTC would cost American taxpayers over $13.35 billion. [which] has caused significant price distortions in wholesale electricity markets.
"The value of the Wind PTC today it is worth 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour produced. A wind project that "begins construction" in 2013 could receive subsidies until 2026. By ending this program now we will have given the wind industry a more than generous phase-out for a credit that is being awarded to a mature technology with over 61,100 megawatts of generation installed across the country and 13,400 megawatts under development in 21 states. Over 43% of all electric generation nameplate capacity additions in 2012 were from wind, overtaking natural-gas fired generation as the leading source of new power generation."
OnTheIssues note: The wind PTC subsidy will likely stay in place as long as Obama is president. In general, Democrats support alternative energy credits such as the PTC (which also applies to biomass and geothermal energy), although some Democrats from coal states or oil states oppose the PTC. The Republican signatories of this letter complain about the $5B annual subsidy for renewable energy--but they ignore fossil fuels subsidies including: $3B for fossil fuel tax subsidy; $1B for fossil energy R&D; and a $7B annual subsidy for oil & gas exploration.
Congressional Summary: House amendment to H.R. 5538, the Interior & Environment Agencies Appropriations bill for FY 2017. This amendment would prohibit funds to be used to research, investigate, or study offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
Heritage Foundation recommends voting NO: (7/13/2016): The Gulf of Mexico continues to be a very important asset for our energy future and it continues to produce significant amounts of oil and natural gas. Yet the Eastern Gulf of Mexico has not participated to this point despite its significant potential. A 2014 Heritage Foundation report said: "Excessive regulations and bureaucratic inefficiencies have stymied oil production and prevented the full effects of the energy boom." This amendment would block any potential progress that could take place by preventing the necessary work that would need to be prepared in the East Gulf for potential lease sales and eventual production.
Sierra Club recommends voting YES: (1/12/1974): The Sierra Club believes that no offshore petroleum exploration should occur unless and until the following conditions are met:
Legislative outcome: Failed House 185 to 243 (no Senate vote).
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