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John Edwards on Energy & Oil

2004 Democratic Nominee for Vice President; Former Jr Senator (NC)


FactCheck: Changed to anti-Yucca before forged documents

Edwards said he had changed his position on a proposed nuclear waste site at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain because of allegations of forged documents. In response to a charge from Clinton that he voted twice in favor of making Yucca a nuclear waste site, Edwards said, “The science that has been revealed since that time and the forged documents that have been revealed since that time have revealed that this thing does not make sense.”

Actually, Edwards had changed his position when he signed on as the 2004 running mate of John Kerry, who was opposed to the nuclear repository. That was long before the documents scandal erupted in March 2005.

In 2004 Edwards’ campaign said: “John Kerry opposes the storage of dangerous nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain and John Edwards is very comfortable with that policy.”

But it was not until 2005 that e-mails were made public that data had been falsified, based on major safety and environmental concerns on the issue of ground water in the desert.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas Jan 16, 2008

Investigate the oil companies and ask for conservation

What we can do in the short term, and I will do as president, is ensure that my Justice Department investigates what these oil companies who are vertically integrated from refinery to pump, are doing. We need to ask Americans to be patriotic about something other than war. We’re going to have to be willing to sacrifice. If we love this country enough, we’re going to have to conserve, in our homes, in our workplaces, and alter our behavior to make America what it’s capable of being.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University Oct 30, 2007

Give up SUVs & other sacrifices, to deal with climate crisis

Q: You’ve suggested that Americans should give up their SUVs for the sake of the environment.

A: I want to see the US lead the charge on dealing with this crisis in a really aggressive way. Because we have to. I mean, first of all, we have to get off our addiction to oil in America. I’ve laid out a specific set of ideas about how to do that, reducing greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 and transforming the way we use and produce energy in this country. But I would add, with regards to SUVs, I do think we need a president who actually says to America, you have to be willing to sacrifice, who calls on Americans to sacrifice. The president needs to say I’m willing to drive a more fuel-efficient vehicle and I’m willing to conserve in my home and workplace, because all of us have to do this together. If we don’t want to be driven by the addiction to oil and we want to actually preserve the planet, we have to do it together.

Source: Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line debate Sep 13, 2007

No on developing more nuclear power in the US

Q: We have a dependency on foreign oil which all across America people say we must become energy independent.

A: Yes.

Q: Would you be in favor of developing more nuclear power here in the United States?

A: No.

Q: Period?

A: No. So that was less than 30 seconds.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College Sep 6, 2007

No new nuclear power plants; no liquified coal either

Q: What about nuclear power as an alternative energy source?

A: Wind, solar, cellulose-based biofuels are the way we need to go. I do not favor nuclear power. We haven’t built a nuclear power plant in decades in this country. There is a reason for that. The reason is it is extremely costly. It takes an enormous amount of time to get one planned, developed and built. And we still don’t have a safe way to dispose of the nuclear waste. It is a huge problem for America over the long term. I also don’t believe we should liquefy coal. The last thing we need is another carbon-based fuel in America. We need to find fuels that are in fact renewable, clean, and will allow us to address directly the question that has been raised, which is the issue of global warming, which I believe is a crisis.

Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC Jul 23, 2007

80% greenhouse emissions reductions by the year 2050

We have a crisis on this planet, and that crisis is global warming. America has got to show that we can be an example for good, not an example for bad. We’re 4% of the world’s population emitting 25% of the world’s greenhouse gases. We’re a terrible example. We’re the worst polluter on the planet. China is catching us, but they’re still behind.

I think we ought to cap greenhouse emissions in the US. We ought to ratchet that cap down every single year. We ought to reduce greenhouse emissions by at least 80% by the year 2050.

Below the cap, we ought to auction off the right to emit any greenhouse gases. The proceeds of that auction ought to be used to transform the way we produce energy in this country, a national investment in wind, solar, cellulose-based biofuels.

America needs to put at least a billion dollars into the development and implementation of carbon capture, carbon sequestration technology, and until we do, there should not be another coal-fired power plant built.

Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference Jun 19, 2007

Bold transformation to stop importing 12M bbl of oil per day

Q: Concerning the astronomical windfall of major oil companies again in the first quarter. Why is gas still on the rise?

A: Well, for a lot of reasons. Number one, is extraordinary demand in America. We use 22 million barrels of oil a day, 12 million of those are imported. It’s the reason we have to make a bold transformation from what we are doing now.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC Apr 26, 2007

Cap carbon emissions & invest in carbon sequestration

On the issue of climate change, we ought to cap carbon emissions in the United States. We ought to invest in clean alternative sources of energy. We ought to invest in carbon sequestration technology, in cold technology. A billion dollars, at least, into making sure we build the most fuel efficient vehicles on the planet. We ought to ask Americans to be patriotic about something other than war. To be willing to conserve.
Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC Apr 26, 2007

Store nuclear waste near nuclear plants, not in Yucca Mt

Q: The big issue in Nevada is Yucca Mountain, the nuclear repository. You voted against making that a national repository, then you voted for making it a national repository. You voted for it before you voted against it.

Q: You said that, not me.

Q: But now you’re saying that maybe the nuclear waste should be stored locally where the waste was produced. Is that your position?

A: With Yucca Mountain there’ve been serious questions, including the possibility of lying and fraud in the scientific evidence that Yucca Mountain would work. I was always concerned, still am, about this nuclear waste being transported around the country. I think, at this point in time, it does not make sense to do Yucca Mountain. So the answer is we have nuclear plants, the waste has to be stored somewhere, so it has to be stored where the plants are.

Q: So in Seabrook, New Hampshire, the nuclear waste has to be stored in New Hampshire.

A: It has to be stored somewhere close by.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series Feb 4, 2007

Supports real increases in CAFE standards

Q: Would you increase the required automobile fleet average of 27.5 mpg; and SUVs and pickups averaging 20.7 mpg?

A: I support real increases in CAFE standards. As we implement those increases, we must also invest far more in fuel-efficiency technology

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, “Fuel Efficiency” Jan 25, 2004

Convert agricultural waste into energy products

Fueling America’s Future. Edwards will set up new factories to convert agricultural waste, like corn stalks and wood chips, into energy products. These factories will create manufacturing jobs and reduce our reliance on foreign oil.
Source: Real Solutions For America, campaign booklet by John Edwards Aug 6, 2003

Voted YES on Bush Administration Energy Policy.

Vote to pass a bill would overhaul the nation's energy policies, reorganize the electricity system and make available approximately $15 billion in energy-related tax incentives. It also would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to establish a new CAFE standard within 15 months to two years. It would support the use of alternative energy and call for utilities to increase their dependence on renewable fuels.
Reference: Energy Policy Act of 2003; Bill HR 6 ; vote number 2003-317 on Jul 31, 2003

Voted YES on removing consideration of drilling ANWR from budget bill.

Boxer Amdt. No. 272.; To prevent consideration of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in a fast-track budget reconciliation bill. S Con Res 23 Budget resolution FY2004: Vote to pass an amendment that would strike (remove) language in the resolution that would permit oil drilling and exploration in part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. [Voting No favors drilling for oil in ANWR].
Reference: Bill SConRes 23 ; vote number 2003-59 on Mar 19, 2003

Voted NO on drilling ANWR on national security grounds.

Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Murkowski Amendment No. 31323; To create jobs for Americans, to reduce dependence on foreign sources of crude oil and energy, to strengthen the economic self determination of the Inupiat Eskimos and to promote national security. Would allow gas and oil development in a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge if the president certifies to Congress that production in the area is in the nation's security and economic interests (qwhich Prsident Bush would). If the cloture motion is agreed to, debate will be limited and a vote will occur. If the cloture motion is rejected debate could continue indefinitely and instead the bill is usually set aside. A yea vote for this bill was one in favor of drilling in the reserve. Three-fifths of the total Senate (60) is required to invoke cloture.
Reference: Bill S.517 ; vote number 2002-71 on Apr 18, 2002

Voted NO on terminating CAFE standards within 15 months.

Levin Amendment No. 2997; To provide alternative provisions to better encourage increased use of alternative fueled and hybrid vehicles. Vote to pass an amendment that would remove the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard (CAFE) and instead establish a new automobile efficiency standard in 15 months. Congress could veto any CAFE increase and would be allowed to increase the standard if no changes are made with 15 months. The bill would overhaul the nation's energy policies by restructuring the electricity system and providing for $16 billion in energy-related tax incentives.
Reference: Bill S.517 ; vote number 2002-47 on Mar 13, 2002

Voted NO on preserving budget for ANWR oil drilling.

Vote to preserve language in the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Framework that assumes $1.2 billion in revenue from oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [ANWR] in Alaska.
Reference: Bill S Con Res 101 ; vote number 2000-58 on Apr 6, 2000

Voted YES on ending discussion of CAFE fuel efficiency standards.

Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Bryan (D-NV) introduced a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate towards ending CAFE Standards. Senator Gorton motioned to table this amendment. [A YES vote is considered pro-business].
Status: Amdt Rejected Y)40; N)55; NV)4
Reference: Gorton Amdt # 1677; Bill H.R. 2084 ; vote number 1999-275 on Sep 15, 1999

Voted YES on defunding renewable and solar energy.

In June of 1999, Senator Jeffords (R-VT) was prepared to offer an amendment which would have added $62 million to the Energy Department solar and renewable energy programs. This action was blocked by Senator Reid (D-NV).
Status: Motion Agreed to Y)60; N)39; NV)1
Reference: Motion to table the recommital; Bill S. 1186 ; vote number 1999-171 on Jun 16, 1999

Supports tradable emissions permits for greenhouse gases.

Edwards adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Modernize Environmental Policies
National environmental policies, mostly developed in the 1970s, have been remarkably successful in improving the quality of our air and water. But we face a new set of environmental challenges for which the old strategy of centralized, command-and-control regulation is no longer effective.

The old regime of prohibitions and fines levied on polluters is not well equipped to tackle problems such as climate change, contamination of water from such sources as farm and suburban runoff, loss of open lands, and sprawl. Without relaxing our determination to maintain and enforce mandatory national standards for environmental quality, it is time to create more effective, efficient, and flexible ways of achieving those standards.

For example, a system of tradable emissions permits would give factories, power plants, and other sources of air pollution and greenhouse gases a powerful incentive not only to meet but to exceed environmental standards. Decisions about solving local environmental problems should be shifted from Washington to communities, without weakening national standards. Finally, to empower citizens and communities to make sound decisions, government should invest in improving the quality and availability of information about environmental conditions.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC10 on Aug 1, 2000

Keep climate change in EPA "State of the Environment" report.

Edwards signed a letter from 7 Senators to the President

Dear President Bush:

We are deeply disturbed to read reports this morning that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House have decided to omit data and language pertaining to climate change from the Agency's upcoming "State of the Environment" report. We would like to know if this is true. [Note: The section on climate change was indeed omitted–Ed.]

According to these reports, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) made decisions to delete from the "State of the Environment" report scientifically sound, consensus-based conclusions about the human contributions to global warming that have been confirmed by the National Research Council and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We would like to know why, and who within the Administration made this decision.

Perhaps most distressing are reports that Administration officials substituted into the report for the deleted language a reference to a study partially funded by the American Petroleum Institute that questions the National Research Council's conclusions. If true, this action brings into question the ability and authority of the EPA or any agency within this Administration to publish unbiased scientific reports. This would dramatically weaken both Congressional and public confidence in the Administration to allow credible, peer-reviewed study to prevail over political agenda. If these reports are accurate, your Administration has done a serious disservice not only to the hard-working professionals at the EPA, but also to the American people and our future.

We request all drafts of the report as well as comments prepared by the EPA, OMB, & CEQ. We request a list of all participants involved in review of the document, including all Administration officials and entities outside the Administration. Furthermore, we ask that appropriate actions be taken regarding those responsible for doctoring this report.

Source: Letter from 7 Senators to the President 03-SEN7 on Jun 19, 2003

Keep efficient air conditioner rule to conserve energy.

Edwards signed a letter from 53 Senators to the President

Mr. President: A recent federal court decision regarding energy efficient air conditioners is a significant victory for consumers, for the environment, and for our nation's energy future. We respectfully request that you do not appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second District (Natural Resources Defense Council et al v. Abraham, Docket 01-4102) affirmed that central air conditioners sold beginning in 2006 must be at least 30% more energy efficient than those available today.

Air conditioners are a necessary modern convenience but are also major users of electricity. On hot days, cooling homes and businesses is the largest category of electricity demand. Requiring air conditioners to be as energy efficient as possible will begin to reduce the stress on the electricity generation and transmission network and decrease the likelihood of blackouts that many regions of the country experience during warm weather conditions.

Air conditioners that meet the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating 13 standard will provide benefits for consumers, the environment, and the nation. The SEER 13 standard will alleviate the need for additional electricity production and transmission resulting in as many as 48 fewer power plants required by 2020. This standard will also result in less harmful air pollution being emitted into the atmosphere. Moreover, by 2020 power plant emissions of carbon dioxide will be 2.5 million tons lower as a result, and emissions of mercury, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides will also be held down resulting in cleaner air and healthier citizens.

Finally, the higher standard can be expected to save businesses and residential consumers $1 billion per year in lower electricity bills. Lower electricity bills will recover the slightly higher purchase cost for the more efficient air conditioners in less than 18 months.

Source: Letter from 53 Senators to the President 04-SEN2 on Mar 19, 2004

Other candidates on Energy & Oil: John Edwards on other issues:
Nominees:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010