James Inhofe on Energy & Oil
Republican Sr Senator (OK)
Inhofe: Strongly Disagree
No, it's not; the switch was made during the Bush presidency. Our staffer, Jesse Gordon, worked as an EPA contractor in 2001-03, preparing content for the epa.gov website. Gordon reports, "During that period, word came down from EPA to change all instances of the term 'global warming' to 'climate change.'" That timing means that the Bush administration changed the rule from that of the Clinton administration; Obama & Gore had nothing to do with it, so Inhofe's implication is incorrect.
Of course, the philosophy behind cap and trade is that if we restrict enough supply of fossil fuels, the price will increase, and we can then simply shift to less costly alternatives. Yet this is wishful thinking. Alternatives are fine, but in most cases, they aren't widely available or commercially viable yet--certainly not in a form that can efficiently, affordably, and reliably meet our existing energy needs. How are we supposed to run this machine called America without proven and reliable sources such as oil, coal, and natural gas? The answer is we can't.
Many times during my global warming fight, I turned to Day 36 of "Promises" which features one of my favorite Bible verses, Genesis 8:22:
A nonpartisan analysis of the bill revealed it would result in $4 trillion to $6 trillion in welfare costs over 40 years and up to $1 trillion per year by 2050. I carried around a memo with 4 themes based solely on economics. They were taxes, jobs, gas prices, and nuclear power. The themes quickly got the attention of the American people and my fellow Republican colleagues, setting the stage for the economic debate on the Waxman-Markey bill later in 2009 and 2010.
The news hit them hard: "Government studies confirm this bill will only raise gas prices"; "$6.7 trillion in the form of higher gasoline and electricity bills"; "1.8 million jobs lost by 2020 and 4 million by 2030 according to the National Association of Manufacturers." The economic impacts of the bill drove the debate.
I requested the report along with Senator Lisa Murkowski because we had grown tired of the Democrats' refrain that America only has 3% of global oil reserves--which, according to this view, meant more drilling and production at home would be futile. The 3% mantra is their bread and butter talking point.
But the non-partisan CRS shows the full, complete, accurate picture of America's resources--and shows that, yes, we can produce our way to energy security.
Knowing what vast resources literally lay at our feet, it seemed all the more outrageous that we were even considering such drastic measures to limit access to these resources.
Is that still true today? Of course it is. And yet here we go again: China, India, and other developing countries want nothing to do with absolute, binding emissions cuts. China and India have pledged to reduce the rate of growth, or intensity, of their emissions. But that's not acceptable to the US Senate. Moreover, China is opposed to a mandatory verification regime to prove it is actually honoring its commitments.
[Opponents said] our bill should be called the "Big Polluter Protection Act." Contrary to the claims, our bill leaves all the essential provisions of the Clean Air Act intact. It simply prevents the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases which are not harmful to human health. Imposing energy taxes through EPA's cap & trade regulations and blocking economic development won't make Americans healthier--it will only mean fewer jobs, & a higher cost of living.
The solar company Solyndra was one of those companies that was shown the money at the beginning of Obama's presidency, as it was a recipient of the stimulus under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. At the time, Solyndra was touted as the model to follow by the Administration for its green energy economy.
Now as the country struggles with unemployment and Solyndra has completely collapsed and gone bankrupt, it is clear that the President's policies of "showing the money" has meant throwing the money away. In the end, Solyndra is more than just a bankrupt company: it is a metaphor for the failure of Obama's war on affordable energy and American fossil fuel jobs.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Sen. McConnell, R-KY]: The White House is trying to impose a backdoor national energy tax through the EPA. It is a strange way to respond to rising gas prices. But it is perfectly consistent with the current Energy Secretary's previously stated desire to get gas prices in the US up to where they are in Europe.
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Sen. Lautenberg, D-NJ]:We hear the message that has been going around: Let's get rid of the EPA's ability to regulate. Who are they to tell us what businesses can do? Thank goodness that in this democratic society in which we live, there are rules and regulations to keep us as a civilized nation. The Supreme Court and scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency agreed that the Clean Air Act is a tool we must use to stop dangerous pollution. This amendment, it is very clear, favors one group--the business community. The Republican tea party politicians say: "Just ignore the Supreme Court. Ignore the scientists. We know better." They want to reward the polluters by crippling EPA's ability to enforce the Clean Air Act.
Status: Failed 50-50 (3/5
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R, SC): The climate change proposal that was in the President's budget would create a massive tax increase on anybody who uses energy, and that would be every American middle-class family, which already has a tough time getting by. This [amendment creates a procedure to block] any bill that would raise the cost of energy on our middle-class families who are struggling to get by. I ask the Senate to rally around this concept. We can deal with climate change without passing a $3,000-per-household energy tax on the families of America who are having a hard time paying their bills.
Opponent's argument to vote No:No senators spoke against the amendment.
Sec. 202 is amended by inserting at the end the following: "The Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Budget shall not revise the allocations in this resolution if the legislation is reported from any committee pursuant to sec. 310 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974."
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R, SC): This idea to most people of a debate about reconciliation probably is mind-numbing and not very interesting. But there is a process in the Congress where you can take legislation and basically put it on a fast track. It is subject to 50 votes.
The whole idea of the Senate kind of cooling things down has served the country well. In that regard, to end debate you need 60 votes. If 41 Senators are opposed to a piece of legislation, strongly enough to come to the floor every day and talk about it, that legislation doesn't go anywhere. If you took climate change and health care, two very controversial, big-ticket items, and put them on the reconciliation track, you would basically be doing a lot of damage to the role of the Senate in a constitutional democracy.
Senator Byrd, who is one of the smartest people to ever serve in the Senate about rules and parliamentary aspects of the Senate, said that to put climate change and health care reform in reconciliation is like "a freight train through Congress" and is "an outrage that must be resisted." Senator Conrad said: "I don't believe reconciliation was ever intended for this purpose."
I think both of them are right. Under the law, you cannot put Social Security into reconciliation because we know how controversial and difficult that is. I come here in support of the Johanns amendment that rejects that idea.
Opponent's argument to vote No:No senators spoke against the amendment.
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.
But what happens with the DeMint motion, he gives China and India a veto power over what we should be doing. Imagine saying we are not going to do anything about human rights until China acts. Why would we give up our chance to take the mantle of leadership and finally grab hold of this issue? I cannot look into the eyes of my grandchildren and tell them: Sorry, I am giving over my proxy to China & India, and I can't do anything about it.
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.
Status: Bill passed Bill passed, 65-27
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
Our NOPEC bill will authorize filing suit against nations that participate in a conspiracy to limit the supply, or fix the price, of oil. In addition, it will specify that the doctrines of sovereign immunity do not exempt nations that participate in oil cartels from basic antitrust law.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
No one likes OPEC. But this amendment, in my opinion, would make bad law. The Framers of the Constitution wisely assigned responsibility for formulating foreign policy and conducting foreign relations to the President and to the Congress, not to the law courts.
The amendment before us has its roots in a lawsuit filed by the labor union nearly 30 years ago. The union at that time charged OPEC with price fixing in violation of our antitrust laws. The trial court dismissed the case on the ground that OPEC members are sovereign nations and are immune from suit. Adopting the amendment will undoubtedly be very popular, but it is also very unwise.
In addition, we here in the Senate ought to consider how enactment of this amendment might affect our relations with OPEC members. What will be the international repercussions when the US starts awarding judgments against foreign nations and attaching their assets in this country? Will other nations start to view our trade policies--such as our nuclear trade restrictions--as violations of their antitrust laws?
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
It just seems logical that we ask the Corps of Engineers to include in their analyses, judgments about the potential impact of global climate change. All this amendment seeks to do, as a matter of common sense, is to ask the Army Corps of Engineers to factor climate change into their future plans. Secondly, we are making a statement here to finally recognize the reality of what is happening with respect to climate change.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
The same people today who are saying we are all going to die from global warming, just back in the middle 1970s were saying another ice age is coming and we are all going to die. Which way do you want it?
If a surge of anthropogenic gases--this CO2, methane, or whatever it is--were causing a warming period, then around 1945 we would have a warming period because in the middle 1940s we had the greatest increase in greenhouse gases. But what happened? It did not precipitate a warming period.
Peer reviewed evidence shows that the sun has actually been driving the temperature change. You don't have to be a scientist to know that the Sun can have something to do with climate change.
Implementing Kyoto would reduce the average annual household income nearly $2,700, at a time when the cost of all goods would rise sharply.
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.
A bill to address record high gas prices at the pump, and for other purposes. The Gas Price Reduction Act amends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) to prescribe procedures for petition, by the governor of a state with a new producing area within the offshore administrative boundaries beyond the state's submerged land, to make the new producing area available for oil and gas leasing.
Repeals the prohibition against funding: (1) regulations regarding a commercial leasing program for oil shale resources on public lands; or (2) an oil shale lease sale.
No Climate Tax Pledge: "I pledge to the taxpayers of my state, and to the American people, that I will oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue."
Sponsoring organizations: Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEU); National Taxpayers Union (NTU); Institute for Liberty Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual's right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans.
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