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Spencer Abraham on Energy & Oil

Former Secretary of Energy & Former Republican Senator (MI)


2003 FutureGen initiative: coal with carbon capture

Obama never mentioned "Big Coal" as one of the bad guys. That's because as a senator, Obama championed FutureGen, declaring in mid-2006, "The FutureGen project is the future of coal in the US." Since the FutureGen project was originally proposed in those Cheney task force meetings, Obama refrained from criticizing Big Coal's role in those talks.

The project was groundbreaking: get ten or so of the biggest oil and power companies together in a joint venture, provide a billion dollars of federal aid, and charge the companies--known as the FutureGen Alliance--with creating a coal-fired power plant that gives off almost no pollution or greenhouse gases. This would involve developing "carbon capture" technology: trapping carbon dioxide emissions underground so they don't contribute to the greenhouse effect.

The Bush White House announced the FutureGen initiative in 2003. The following year, Energy Secretary Spence Abraham pumped up congressional support and a minority investment from corporate partners.

Source: Obamanomics, by Timothy P. Carney, p. 41 , Nov 30, 2009

Voted YES on preserving budget for ANWR oil drilling.

Vote to preserve language in the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Framework that assumes $1.2 billion in revenue from oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [ANWR] in Alaska.
Reference: Bill S Con Res 101 ; vote number 2000-58 on Apr 6, 2000

Voted NO on ending discussion of CAFE fuel efficiency standards.

Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Bryan (D-NV) introduced a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate towards ending CAFE Standards. Senator Gorton motioned to table this amendment. [A YES vote is considered pro-business].
Status: Amdt Rejected Y)40; N)55; NV)4
Reference: Gorton Amdt # 1677; Bill H.R. 2084 ; vote number 1999-275 on Sep 15, 1999

Voted YES on defunding renewable and solar energy.

In June of 1999, Senator Jeffords (R-VT) was prepared to offer an amendment which would have added $62 million to the Energy Department solar and renewable energy programs. This action was blocked by Senator Reid (D-NV).
Status: Motion Agreed to Y)60; N)39; NV)1
Reference: Motion to table the recommital; Bill S. 1186 ; vote number 1999-171 on Jun 16, 1999

Voted YES on approving a nuclear waste repository.

Approval of the interim nuclear waste repository. The repository would be located at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, with an integrated management system for storage and permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Voting YES would authorize the President with sole and unreviewable discretion to determine the suitability of the Yucca Mountain site.
Status: Bill Passed Y)65; N)34; NV)1
Reference: Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1997; Bill S. 104 ; vote number 1997-42 on Apr 15, 1997

Member of Bush’s National Energy Policy Development Group.

Abraham is a member of Bush’s National Energy Policy Development Group:

    The National Energy Policy Development (NEPD) Group was directed by President Bush to “develop a national energy policy designed to… promote dependable, affordable, and environmentally sound production and distribution of energy for the future.”The National Energy Policy we propose follows three basic principles:
  1. The Policy is a long-term, comprehensive strategy. Our energy crisis has been years in the making, and will take years to put fully behind us.
  2. The Policy will advance new, environmentally friendly technologies to increase energy supplies and encourage cleaner, more efficient energy use.
  3. The Policy seeks to raise the living standards of the American people, recognizing that to do so our country must fully integrate its energy, environmental, and economic policies.

    Applying these principles, we urge action to meet five specific national goals.
  1. Modernize conservation: The best way of meeting this goal is to increase energy efficiency by applying new technology—raising productivity, reducing waste, and trimming costs.
  2. Modernize our energy infrastructure: To reduce the incidents of electricity blackouts, we must greatly enhance our ability to transmit electric power between geographic regions.
  3. Increase energy supplies: A primary goal is to add supply from diverse sources: domestic oil and gas via high-tech drilling; clean coal research; hydropower and nuclear power.
  4. Accelerate the protection and improvement of the environment: We do not accept the false choice between environmental protection and energy production. An integrated approach to policy can yield a cleaner environment, a stronger economy, and a sufficient supply of energy for our future.
  5. Increase our nation ’s energy security: We must prepare our nation for supply emergencies, and assist low-income Americans who are most vulnerable in times of supply disruption.
Source: National Energy Policy report 01-NEPD0 on May 2, 2001

Tax credits & more funding for renewable energy research.

Abraham adopted the National Energy Policy Development Group report:

Source: National Energy Policy report 01-NEPD1 on May 2, 2001

Open small fraction of ANWR for regulated production .

Abraham adopted the National Energy Policy Development Group report:

Source: National Energy Policy report 01-NEPD2 on May 2, 2001

Long-term energy stability avoids high-polluting emergencies.

Abraham adopted the National Energy Policy Development Group report:

We are all aware of past excesses in our use of the natural world and its resources. No one wishes to see them repeated. In the 21st century, the ethic of good stewardship is well established in American life and law. We do not accept the false choice between environmental protection and energy production. America is using more, and polluting less. The primary reason for that has been steady advances in the technology of locating, producing, and using energy.

One of the factors harming the environment today is the very lack of a comprehensive, long-term national energy policy. States confronting blackouts must take desperate measures, often at the expense of environmental standards, requesting waivers of environmental rules, and delaying the implementation of anti-pollution efforts. Shortfalls in electricity generating capacity and shortsighted policies have blocked construction of new, cleaner plants, leaving no choice but to rely on older, inefficient plants to meet demand. The increased use of emergency power sources, such as diesel generators, results in greater air pollution.

Source: National Energy Policy report 01-NEPD3 on May 2, 2001

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Page last updated: Mar 09, 2014