Jim Risch on Energy & Oil

Republican Jr Senator; previously Governor


Yucca Mountain is the proper site for nuclear waste

Q: Would you vote to support legislation designed to speed up the permitting and construction of nuclear power plants?

A: Yes.

Q: Would you vote to oppose removing the designation of Yucca Mountain as the site for the temporary storage of nuclear waste?

A: Yes. Yucca Mtn is the proper site for this material.

Source: BIPAC 2008 Senate Candidate Questionnaire , Nov 1, 2008

Drill offshore; drill ANWR; drill for oil shale

Q: Would you vote to significantly expand environmentally responsible drilling for oil and natural gas on the Outer Continental Shelf?

A: Yes.

Q: Would you vote to oppose restrictions that would limit access to and exploration of oil shale in the western United States?

A: Yes.

Q: Would you vote to allow environmentally responsible exploration and production in the portion of Alaska called ANWR, which is estimated to hold 10 billion barrels of oil?

A: Yes.

Source: BIPAC 2008 Senate Candidate Questionnaire , Nov 1, 2008

No cap-&-trade; include India & China in carbon restrictions

Q: Would you vote against cap and trade legislation that is designed to reduce carbon emissions, but which studies indicate would result in significant losses in GDP and jobs?

A: Yes. Based on scientific study, yes.

Q: Would you vote for a provision in climate change legislation requiring our international competitors, such as India and China, to adopt similar restrictions prior to the U.S. legislation being fully implemented?

A: Yes.

Source: BIPAC 2008 Senate Candidate Questionnaire , Nov 1, 2008

We’re running out of oil; we must drill our way through this

Risch said we’re running out of oil and we need to develop alternative energy sources, but meanwhile we need to use compressed natural gas, nuclear energy, wind power, and “drilling our way through this.”

LaRocco responded, “We could create 14,000 new jobs in Idaho just by embracing new types of energy.”

Rammell added, “I’m so sick & tired of global warming. If we continue to support this lie that global warming is going to destroy this world, we’re going to destroy our economy.”

Source: 2008 Idaho Senate Debate reported in Boise Weekly City Desk , Oct 9, 2008

25x25 policy: reduce fossil fuel use 25% over 25 years

Q: What is your policy to address global climate change?

A: As Governor I was one of the first in the nation to sign onto the 25x25 policy to reduce fossil fuel use 25% over 25 years. Congress is already in the process of attempting to reduce CO2 gasses. My greatest concern is how to most effectively reduce CO2 production in a manner sensitive to the economic risks and reaction that will impact the quality of life of the citizens as well.

Source: 2008 Senate questionnaire by SEA & 18 science organizations , Sep 9, 2008

Increase supply for short-term; alternatives for long-term

Q: What policies would you support to meet the demand for energy while ensuring an economically and environmentally sustainable future?

A: We must develop a comprehensive plan that addresses the energy supply shortages in both the short and long term. That plan must address all areas of energy, not just gasoline and diesel fuels. The US imports about 60% of its oil, yet we have declined to tap potential oil and gas fields within our own borders. In the short term we must increase the supply and not depend so heavily on foreign government-supplied oil. In the long-term, we must invest in clean coal technology, nuclear energy, and alternative forms of energy. Energy efficiency must also play a major role in an energy plan. This will not happen overnight, but the longer we put off action, the longer Idahoans will suffer under shortsighted policies.

Source: 2008 Senate questionnaire by SEA & 18 science organizations , Sep 9, 2008

Tap domestic potential in ANWR and continental shelf

The US imports about 60% of its oil, yet we have declined to tap potential oil and gas fields within our own borders. We are prohibited from drilling for oil in ANWR, and some deride the fact that it would “only” provide 5% of our current oil use. Yet that is nearly the same amount we import from Nigeria, which if lost, would be catastrophic on our price of gasoline! Also, 85% of the US outer continental shelf is off limits to exploration, yet drilling in those areas is allowed in the UK & Denmark
Source: 2008 Senate questionnaire by SEA & 18 science organizations , Sep 9, 2008

Comprehensive policy with nuclear, clean coal & alternatives

Q: Do you support or oppose the policy: “Replace coal and oil with alternatives”?

A: I believe we need a comprehensive, long term energy policy. A policy that that includes nuclear, clean coal, domestic oil, solar, wind and other forms of “alternative” energy.

Source: Email interview on 2008 Senate race with OnTheIssues.org , Jun 8, 2008

Opt out of EPA mercury program; no coal plants in Idaho

Gov. Risch today directed the Department of Environmental Quality to develop rules that will keep Idaho out of a national mercury cap-and-trade program. Hence coal-fired power plants could not be built in the state. “Idaho doesn’t have any coal-fired power plants. With my decision to opt-out of the EPA’s interstate trading program on mercury emissions, it means that we will have decided to prohibit mercury discharge by coal-fired electrical generating plants into Idaho’s air,” Risch said.
Source: Press release, “Proclamation Honors Life” , Aug 9, 2006

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 required)

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.