Despite the current economic meltdown, I have chosen to stick with environmental policies for this blog post. There is plenty of information out there on the candidates and what they would do about the economic situation, but that information is changing on a daily basis with both candidates coming up with new ideas and offering new proposals. I’m going to let it ride for a while, and gather information when the dust has settled.
The environment and energy are inextricably linked, but I fear if I try to cover both at the same time this blog post will be too long to read in one sitting, and that would defeat the purpose. So, this one is about the environment (although I did look into what each candidate thinks about drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)).
Energy is up next.
Supports tougher regulations on emissions.
“Q: Schwarzenegger has proposed that California be allowed to implement much tougher emission requirements than apply to the rest of the country. Do you side with the governor or with the Bush administration?”
“A: I have to agree with the governor. I’m a federalist. The states should decide to enormous degrees what happens within those states, including off their coasts. The people of California have decided they don’t want oil drilling off their coasts. The people of Louisiana have decided that they do. I applaud the governor’s efforts and that of other states in this region and other states to try to eliminate the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change. Suppose that the governor and I are wrong, and there’s no such thing as climate change. We adopt these green technologies, of which the US and the innovative skills we have and the entrepreneurship and the free market cap-and-trade proposal is enacted. Then all we’ve done is giving our kids a cleaner world.” Source: 2008 Republican debate at Reagan Library in Simi Valley Jan 30, 2008
McCain also supports a general increase in fuel efficiency and energy efficiency, but has not proposed any specific targets. Source: League of Conservation Voters scorecard.
However, although he supports an increase in fuel efficiency, he has not voted to repeal oil subsidies. (See League of Conservation Voters “Campaign 2008 Fact-Check” below).
Supports the protection of Wilderness areas, including ANWR.
“McCain wrote in the Arizona Republic on Nov. 27 1996, ‘a deep skepticism exists in the electorate about the party’s commitment to protecting the environment. Have Republicans abandoned their roots as the party of Theodore Roosevelt, who maintained that government’s most important task, with the exception of national security, is to leave posterity a land in better condition than they receive it? The answer must be No.’
[McCain described a past bipartisan effort with Mo Udall]: ‘We were able to place more than 3.5 billion acres of land into wilderness protection, increase the preservation of public lands and tackle complex environmental threats to the Grand Canyon.’ McCain was obviously making a political statement with the new—and increasingly tough—stand he was taking on the environment.” Source: Man of the People, by Paul Alexander, p.181 Jan 19, 2004
McCain opposes drilling in ANWR: “I don’t know how you take advantage of it in an ecological manner, and that’s one of the reasons why I have opposed it. But as I say, I will look at all policies that I have in light of this changed economic environment and the challenge to the United States of America. And I will go back and look at it again, and I’ve looked at it many times, and I will be more than happy to examine it again. But right now, and for that matter for a long period of time, [opposing drilling in ANWR] is my position.” Source: New York Times, http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/19/mccain-reiterates-opposition-to-drilling-in-wildlife-refuge/
League of Conservation Voters Campaign 2008 Fact-Check:
McCain was absent when the Senate voted to table an amendment that would have allowed conventional and polluting sources of energy, such as coal-fired power plants and nuclear power, to qualify for credits under the national renewable electricity standard. YES is the pro-environment vote. [Roll Call #211, H. R. 6, 6/14/07]
McCain was absent when the Senate failed to override the filibuster against the renewable electricity standard and again when the Senate failed by one vote to repeal billions of dollars in subsidies to big oil in order to fund clean energy. YES is the pro-environment vote. [Roll Call #416, H.R. 6, 12/7/07 and Roll Call #425, H.R. 6, 12/13/07]
McCain voted no on an amendment that would require electric utilities to produce 10% of their electricity from clean, renewable sources by 2020. YES is the pro-environment vote. [Roll Call #141, H.R. 6, 6/16/05]
McCain voted yes on an amendment that would replace a 10% renewable energy standard with a provision for utilities to offer electricity from renewable sources only to the extent available. NO is the pro-environment vote. [Roll Call #55, S. 517, 3/21/02]
McCain voted no on an amendment to raise the renewable energy standard from 10% to 20%, a level that the Department of Energy believes is both affordable and feasible. YES is the pro-environment vote. [Roll Call #50, S. 517, 3/14/02]
McCain voted yes to block an amendment that would add $62 million to the Energy Department’s solar and renewable energy programs. NO is the pro-environment vote. [Energy and Water appropriations, 6/16/99]
McCain voted yes on a motion to table an amendment that would have added $33 million to renewable programs and decreased spending for nuclear weapons. NO is the pro-environment vote. [H.R. 4506, 6/30/94]
Emissions: Opposes protecting salmon if it undermines the mining industry, and supports mining, oil, and gas development.
“This month, Ms. Palin issued a last-minute statement of opposition to a ballot measure that would have provided added protections for salmon from potential contamination from mining, an action seen as crucial to its defeat.” Source: New York Times, pp. A1 & A10, “An Outsider Who Charms” Aug 29, 2008
“Industry knows we want responsible development. Anadarko will drill Alaska’s first-ever gas-targeted wells on the North Slope. Chevron, FEX, Renaissance–many others are exploring. That’s ratification of AGIA’s promise to make investments profitable for industrious explorers. There’s more we can do to ramp up development. Our new reservoir study can increase development and we will ensure better, publicly supported project coordination. To cultivate timber and agriculture, we’re encouraging responsible, economic efforts to revitalize our once-robust industries. We can and must continue to develop our economy, because we cannot and must not rely so heavily on federal government earmarks.”
Source: State of the State Address to the 25th Alaska Legislature Jan 15, 2008
“The standard should be no different for industry. Ironically, we’re trying to convince the rest of the nation to open ANWR, but we can’t even get our own Pt. Thomson, which is right on the edge of ANWR, developed! We are ready for that gas to be tapped so we can fill a natural gas pipeline. I promise to vigorously defend Alaska’s rights, as resource owners, to develop and receive appropriate value for our resources.”
Source: State of the State Address to the 24th Alaska Legislature Jan 17, 2007
According to a recent TIME magazine article, one of Palin’s priorities is to open ANWR to oil drilling. However, “Drilling would have minimal long-term impact on gas prices: a 2004 study by the Energy Information Agency found that the oil in ANWR might cut the cost of a gallon of gas by all of 3.5 cents by 2027. Even if the drilling were flawless, exploration would destroy much of what makes ANWR special.” Source:http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1837868,00.html
Supports higher fuel efficiency standards.
“[For higher fuel efficiency standards] to happen, we’ve got to be courageous enough to not just talk about it in front of the sierra club or organizations already sympathetic to us. When I announced my proposal to increase fuel efficiency standards on cars, I went to Detroit in front of the automakers and said they had to change their ways. I have to say the room was quiet and nobody clapped, but that’s okay. Part of what the next president has to do is not just tell the American people what they want to hear, but what they need to hear.” Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic Debate Dec 13, 2007
“Health Care for Hybrids” Proposal:
“Here’s the deal we can make with auto companies. It’s a piece of legislation I introduced called Health Care for Hybrids, and it would allow the federal government to pick up part of the tab for the auto companies retiree health care costs. In exchange, the auto companies would then use some of that savings to build and invest more fuel-efficient cars.” Source: “In His Own Words,” edited by Lisa Rogak, p. 39 Mar 27, 2007
“It is shameful that the fuel economy of passenger cars has not increased in over twenty years. While I believe that the Executive Branch has the authority right now to increase fuel economy standards for motor vehicles, I will work to ensure that authority is strengthened so that continual, forward progress is made in fuel economy for both cars and trucks. I will require that fuel economy standards are improved by four percent per year towards the goal of 40 miles per gallon within ten years and 60 miles per gallon within twenty years of implementation.” Source: League of Conservation Voters, ’08: On the Record, http://presidentialprofiles2008.org/Obama/tab2.html
Obama opposes opening ANWR to drilling, but does support increasing oil and gas production in the existing National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (west of ANWR):
“Gov. Sarah Palin today responded to the energy plan put forward by the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, Illinois Senator Barack Obama. ‘I am pleased to see Senator Obama acknowledge the huge potential Alaska’s natural gas reserves represent in terms of clean energy and sound jobs,’ Governor Palin said.
In a speech given in Lansing, Michigan, Senator Obama called for the completion of the Alaska natural gas pipeline, stating, ‘Over the next five years, we should also lease more of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska for oil and gas production. And we should also tap more of our substantial natural gas reserves and work with the Canadian government to finally build the Alaska natural gas pipeline, delivering clean natural gas and creating good jobs in the process.’
Gov. Palin said, ‘This is a tool that must be on the table to buy us time until our long-term energy plans can be put into place, and it is gratifying to see Senator Obama get on board.’” Source: Gov. Palin’s press release, “Pleased with Obama’s Plan” Aug 4, 2008
The League of Conservation Voters has endorsed Obama for President:
BARACK OBAMA – POSITION SUMMARY
The League of Conservation Voters has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for President because his plan to stop global warming pollution will break America’s addiction to oil and will create jobs across the country. Moreover, Sen. Obama’s plan is more than words, it is backed by a strong environmental voting record and forward-looking policy proposals for America’s renewable energy future.
In his time in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Obama has been a consistent supporter and co-sponsor of pro-environment legislation, serving as a strong advocate for the environment. In the Illinois Senate, then State Sen. Obama earned a 100 percent “Environmental Voting Record Award” from the Illinois Environmental Council in 2003, which highlights his commitment to the environment at every step of his political career.
Obama has shown strong commitment to renewable energy. From 2005 to 2007, LCV scored 12 key oil-related votes, and Sen. Obama voted pro-environment every single time, making it back to Washington in the midst of the presidential primary campaign last year to cast his vote in favor of renewable energy. Sen. Obama has set a strong goal of getting 25 percent of our electricity from clean energy by 2025.
Obama committed to cutting America’s addiction to oil and creating new green collar jobs. Sen. Obama has proven this commitment to renewable energy by voting to repeal tax credits for Big Oil and to override the filibuster against the renewable electricity standard. Sen. Obama’s plan will help create 5 million new green collar jobs, through investments in renewables, fuel economy and energy efficiency.
Obama’s votes on global warming and his policies show leadership and science-based solutions. Sen. Obama understands the threat of global warming and the urgent need for action. He plans to use the revenue from the emissions allowance auctions to support development of clean energy and to address transition costs, including helping workers adjust. Source: League of Conservation Voters “Obama Fact Sheet,” http://lcv.org/obama/obama-facts.html
Voted yes on including oil & gas smokestacks in mercury regulations (McCain also voted yes on this bill):
“A joint resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 15, 2005, relating to the removal of coal- and oil-fired electric generating units from the list of major sources of hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The EPA’s Clean Air Mercury Rule:
– Limits smokestack emissions in a two-phase program founded on a market based capping system
– Calls for the first cap to limit mercury emissions to 38 tons in 2010
– Requires the second and final cap to begin in 2018 and stay fix at 15 tons
Source: EPA’s Clean Air Mercury Rule; Bill S J Res 20 ; vote number 2005-225 on Sep 13, 2005
Supports higher fuel efficiency and energy efficiency standards:
“The federal government should drive markets for efficiency technology and renewable energy. I support requiring the federal government to purchase 10 percent renewable electricity by 2010 and 20 percent by the end of the next decade. I also support significantly increasing federal building energy efficiency by requiring a 30 percent reduction in energy use over the next ten years.It will save taxpayers money – almost $4 billion dollars – and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by millions of tons.” Source: League of Conservation Voters, ’08: On the Record,http://presidentialprofiles2008.org/Biden/tab2.html
Biden opposes drilling in ANWR:
“Senator Biden has been a staunch foe of [drilling in] ANWR. He has consistently voted, during his 34 years in office, against exploration in the 10-02 Area. Despite this he states his number one concern as president would be to solve the energy crisis. Other than being a strong supporter of bio-fuels and advocate to mandate a minimum 40 mpg flex-fuel cars, Biden does not state exactly how he would tackle his number one priority of energy, nor has he ever during his many years voting against the ANWR issue.” Source: ANWR.org, http://www.anwr.org/archives/presidential_candidates_views_on_anwr_a_the_democrats.php
The League of Conservation Voters gives Biden an 84% lifetime approval rating. Source: http://presidentialprofiles2008.org/Biden/tab1.html