Joe Sestak on Energy & Oil
Democratic Senate Challenger; former Navy Admiral
Sestak counters that Toomey's aversion to government regulation poses short- and long-term threats to the environment and the economy. Sestak has endorsed legislation that would bring Marcellus Shale drilling under the oversight of the Safe Drinking Water Act. He has echoed President Barack Obama's call for a strict moratorium on offshore drilling. Before the Deepwater Horizon spill, he expressed reservations about the administration's decision to expand the areas available for offshore drilling.
Those issues have provided ammunition for persistent sniping: "Toomey sides with Big Oil in the wake of BP disaster," Sestak charged in a press statements. "On energy, Sestak to the left of many Democrats," a Toomey statement contended.
Toomey claims Sestak's voting record is more liberal than the views of his state on energy as on other issues. On cap and trade, for example, Toomey notes that four of Sestak's colleagues in the House Democratic delegation voted against the bill.
Defending his vote in favor of cap-and-trade, Sestak counters that it would actually increase the number of jobs in the state in the longer term. Sestak invokes a a 2009 estimate that the bill would add more than 70,000 jobs in Pennsylvania. Sestak maintains that the carbon curbs would help protect the state's $4.7 billion agriculture industry. He concedes its emissions controls could lead to residential electricity price increases in the short term.
Toomey acknowledges that global warming exists but he is an agnostic on the crucial question of whether it is a product of human activity. "There's no question that the Earth's surface temperature has increased," he said in a statement. "There is much debate in the scientific community as to the precise sources of global warming."
Sestak said global warming is principally man-made, citing a series of scientific findings on the matter. "I know Congressman Toomey is quite extreme, quite radical, but the vast majority of the mainstream says yes, it is man-made," he said.
In keeping with those positions, the opponents split this week on a closely watched Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, that would have stripped the EPA of the ability to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. Sestak's campaign said he would have opposed the measure. Toomey supported the bill.
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.
The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.
The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Tax credits for investment in renewable sources of energy, (such as wind, solar & biomass)"
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About Joe Sestak: