Amy Klobuchar on Energy & Oil
DFL Sr Senator (MN); Democratic presidential contender
KLOBUCHAR: I have made it very clear that we have to review all of the permits that are out there right now for natural gas and then make decisions on each one of them and then not grant new ones until we make sure that it's safe. But it is a transitional fuel.
KLOBUCHAR: The timing is to make this our mission, like landing on the moon, or the Civil Rights movement where our country came together and said we're going to solve something. And when do you that, you get the new technology and the new results. I was being honest, I don't think we can phase it out in a few years. To me that's like 2 or 3 or 4 years. Right? You have to do it over a period of time, you have to be aware of where people are working and how are you going to do this in a way that keeps our economy going and keeps our economy strong. There is an old Ojibway saying that "great leaders should make decisions not for this generation but for seven generations from now." [We should] put that money into R&D and work with the private sector, perfect the storage for energy, the sooner we can do this, the better.
KLOBUCHAR: Because I see natural gas as a transitional fuel. It is better than oil, but it's not nearly as good as wind and solar. However, you have situations where you have dangerous fracking that shouldn't be happening. So as president in my first 100 days, I will review every fracking permit there is and decide which ones should be allowed to be continued and which ones are too dangerous. Then you go from there. And as you put a price on carbon, you will see less of this going on--because once you put rules of the road in place, it's going to become less economically feasible for that kind of fuel. I remember only a few years ago we were celebrating work of the Obama administration for natural gas-fueled buses. Why? It was better than the old kind of buses. So you have to see this as a transition as we move ahead to a better and cleaner environment.
A: We have to go to carbon neutral by no later than 2050. With nuclear I would look at all the plants we have right now. It is about 20% of our energy and it doesn't emit carbon. I would look at those plants and make sure they're safe and figure out what upgrades we have to make, but I wouldn't expand nuclear unless we can find safe storage. I wouldn't allow for building of new coal plants. What we're as we phase out coal plants is how we can make them better for the environment.
Q: How do we get to carbon neutrality?
A: Being part of the international climate change agreement again, to have some clout and leverage with our allies will make a big difference. The thing which is really exciting is putting incentives out there for farmers to do things that will reduce CO2 in the atmosphere. That's things like planting winter cover crops. As president I would expand it greatly.
KLOBUCHAR: The former Energy Secretary always referred to energy efficiency as a low-hanging fruit. Putting really strict building standards in place to make these buildings as energy efficient as possible to reduce our carbon. Moving to electric cars and trucks. To do that of course, we need the grid and that's why my infrastructure plan is so focused on green infrastructure. There are numerous examples of what we can be doing to make energy efficiency, which I agree is this low-hanging fruit. You know why it's popular with the public? Whether it's increasing the gas mileage standards and then eventually moving to electric cars, or the building standards, or the appliance standards--it's popular because if people save money they really like
Her campaign didn't answer this question, but Ms. Klobuchar said at a CNN town hall-style event: "I will, as first day as the president, sign us back into the international climate change agreement. That is on Day 1."
Q: Do you support a federal carbon tax? If so, at what price per ton, and how do you envision the proceeds being used?
Ms. Klobuchar's campaign said she was open to a carbon tax but would not support one that increased prices for lower- and middle-income Americans. It did not provide an on-the-record quote.
Q: Would you restore Obama-era climate change regulations that the Trump administration has reversed, like the Clean Power Plan, methane limits and vehicle emissions standards?
Ms. Klobuchar's campaign confirmed that she would restore the Clean Power Plan and gas mileage standards, but did not provide an on-the-record quote.
On climate change, Klobuchar said she believes that "we can get close" to the Green New Deal, but that she doesn't "think we're going to get rid of entire industries in the U.S."
"We need to get this debate going, and this is put out there as an aspiration in that something we need to move toward," she said. "Do I think we can cross every 'T' and dot every 'I' in 10 years? Actually, I think that would be very difficult to do."
She also looked ahead to the potential legislation, acknowledging that "there are going to be compromises" and "it's not going to look exactly like that," she said.
I will, as first day as the president, sign us back into the international climate change agreement. I will also bring back the clean power rules that the Trump administration left on the cutting room floor. I will also bring back the gas mileage standards and then propose sweeping legislation to upgrade our infrastructure.
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 required)
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.
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.
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.
Expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should establish a national goal of more than 50 percent clean and carbon free electricity by 2030 for the purposes of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, growing our economy, increasing our shared prosperity, improving public health, and preserving our national security.
This resolution calls for the creation of a Green New Deal with the goals of:
Opposing argument from the Cato Institute, 2/24/2019: While reasonable people can disagree on some aspects of the Green New Deal's proposals, one fact is uncontroversial: the US cannot afford them. The Green New Deal would likely cost upwards of $6.6 trillion per year. The federal government should look for cheaper ways to address problems like climate change. Instead of the Green New Deal, the federal government could adopt a revenue??neutral carbon tax to decrease emissions without exacerbating the fiscal imbalance. Economists from across the political spectrum support carbon taxation as the most cost??effective way to address climate change. And a carbon tax would be most effective if uniformly adopted by other countries, too.
Congressional Summary:This bill requires the Department of Energy to award grants to assist rural electric cooperatives with identifying, evaluating, and designing energy storage and microgrid projects that rely on renewable energy. (A microgrid is a group of interconnected energy resources that acts as a single controllable entity and that can disconnect from the grid to operate in island mode.)
SciPol statement in support: HR4447 would establish a microgrid grant and technical assistance program for rural electric cooperatives. Rural electric cooperatives are non-profit consumer-owned electric cooperatives that came into being in the 1930s to serve the needs of rural areas otherwise ignored by investor-owned (for-profit) utilities. Most rural electric power is still provided by rural electric co-ops.
Trump's Statement of Administration Policy (against): HR 4447 would implement a top-down approach that undermines the Administration's deregulatory agenda. HR 4447 would lead to higher energy costs and discourage innovation. It would create a "green bank" that would subsidize projects similar to wellknown failures like Solyndra. Finally, HR 4447 would interfere with our own energy destiny free from the reins of the Paris Climate Accord and international organizations that ignore the clear lessons that have led to American energy independence.
Common Dreams (against): Over 100 groups--including major environmental, climate and progressive organizations--oppose HR 4447. The heaviest burdens of the climate crisis fall on low-income communities and communities of color. "We applaud the environmental justice measures in this bill, but cannot support legislation that extends our country's reliance upon fossil fuels," said the Executive Director of the Progressive Democrats of America.
Legislative outcome: Passed House 220-185-24, Roll #206 on Sep. 24, 2020.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, DESIGNATION OF PORTION OF ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE AS WILDERNESS.
The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 is amended by adding at the end the following:
Designation of Certain Land as Wilderness- Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska comprising approximately 1,559,538 acres, as generally depicted on a map entitled 'Arctic National Wildlife Refuge--1002 Area. Alternative E--Wilderness Designation, October 28, 1991' and available for inspection in the offices of the Secretary, is designated as a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System under the Wilderness Act'.
A bill to permit California and other States to effectively control greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, and for other purposes. Amends the Clean Air Act to approve the application of the state of California for a waiver of federal preemption of its motor vehicle emission standards.
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