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Tom Coburn on Energy & Oil

Republican Jr Senator; previously Representative (OK-2)


Let ethanol tax credit permanently expire

[One] egregious form of parochialism are tax earmarks--special-interest spending programs placed in the tax code designed as credits or deductions that benefit particular groups or industries. One example of tax earmarks has been subsidies for biofuels like ethanol that are fiercely defended, not surprisingly, by members from corn-growing states, or whatever state creates your favorite "green" biofuel. Ethanol has also been protected by the tradition of holding presidential caucuses in Iowa early in the nominating process. Thankfully, support for the credit is on the wane and it may permanently expire.
Source: The Debt Bomb, by Sen. Tom Coburn, p. 48-9 , Apr 17, 2012

Base energy policy on national interest, not environment

One key lifestyle adjustment would be adopting an energy policy based on our national interest and sound economics rather than environmental fanaticism and left-wing special-interest fetishes. Our nation has the capability of becoming virtually energy independent while creating millions of jobs if we would embrace the reality that for the next 20 years at least, we will have a fossil fuel-based economy rather than an economy based on unproven "green" technologies.

North Dakota is a case study in what can happen with a sound energy policy. In North Dakota, unemployment went down to around 3% last year, compared to 9.2% nationwide. The reason? New technologies that allow us to access the 4 billion barrels of oil in the Bakken fields led to strong economic growth. A reasonable energy policy could create hundreds of thousands of jobs every year and hundreds of billions of dollars in additional revenue.

Source: The Debt Bomb, by Sen. Tom Coburn, p.286 , Apr 17, 2012

Voted YES on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.

Congressional Summary:To prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change. The Clean Air Act is amended by adding a section entitled, "No Regulation of Emissions of Greenhouse Gases". In this section, the term 'greenhouse gas' means any of the following:
  1. Water vapor
  2. Carbon dioxide
  3. Methane
  4. Nitrous oxide
  5. Sulfur hexafluoride
  6. Hydrofluorocarbons
  7. Perfluorocarbons
  8. Any other substance subject to, or proposed to be subject to regulation to address climate change.
The definition of the term 'air pollutant' does not include a greenhouse gas, except for purposes of addressing concerns other than climate change.

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

Reference: Energy Tax Prevention Act; Bill Am183 to S.49 ; vote number 11-SV054 on Apr 6, 2011

Voted YES on protecting middle-income taxpayers from a national energy tax.