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Tom Lantos on Energy & Oil

Democratic Representative (CA-12)


Voted YES on criminalizing oil cartels like OPEC.

Amends the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to declare it to be illegal for any foreign states to act collectively to limit the US price or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product. Denies a foreign state engaged in such conduct sovereign immunity from the jurisdiction of US courts

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:

Reference: No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC); Bill H R 2264 ; vote number 2007-398 on May 22, 2007

Voted YES on removing oil & gas exploration subsidies.

Creating Long-term Energy Alternatives for the Nation (CLEAN) Act

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.

Reference: Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation(CLEAN); Bill HR 6 ("First 100 hours") ; vote number 2007-040 on Jan 18, 2007

Voted YES on keeping moratorium on drilling for oil offshore.

Vote to amend a bill providing for exploration & production of mineral resources on the outer Continental Shelf. The underlying bill revises the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act's guidelines for natural gas lease administration. Voting YES on the amendment would maintain the 25-year moratorium on oil and gas drilling in environmentally sensitive areas offshore. Voting NO on the amendment would lift the 25-year moratorium, and establish incentives to renegotiate existing leases that fail to include market-based price caps.

Proponents support voting YES because:

This amendment would preserve the longstanding moratorium so important to coastal States. The amendment would also preserve the underlying bill's one redeeming feature, the renegotiating of the cash-cow leases now pouring billions of dollars into already stuffed oil industry coffers.

We have only 5% of the world's population, but 30% of the world's automobiles, and we produce 45% of the world's automotive carbon dioxide emissions. This addiction harms our environment, our economy and our national security. This underlying bill attempts to bribe coastal States into drilling off their shores by promising them a lot more money.

Opponents support voting NO because:

For 30 years, opponents of American energy have cloaked their arguments in an environmental apocalypse. They have tried to make the argument that no matter what we do, it will destroy the environment.

This amendment takes out all of the energy production. It is a callous disregard for the jobs that have been lost over the last 30 years of following an anti-energy policy. The people who work in oil and gas, their jobs are in the Middle East or Canada. We have exported their jobs. If this amendment passes, we are going to send the rest of them. We should know how important it is to create jobs in this country, to create clean natural gas in this country, so that it can be the bridge to the future.

Reference: Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act; Bill H R 4761 ; vote number 2006-354 on Jun 29, 2006

Voted NO on authorizing construction of new oil refineries.

To expedite the construction of new refining capacity in the United States, to provide reliable and affordable energy for the American people, and for other purposes including:
Reference: Gasoline for Americas Security Act; Bill HR 3893 ; vote number 2005-519 on Oct 7, 2005

Voted NO on passage of the Bush Administration national energy policy.

Vote to pass a bill that would put into practice a comprehensive national policy for energy conservation, research and development. The bill would authorize o $25.7 billion tax break over a 10-year period. The tax breaks would include $11.9 billion to promote oil and gas production, $2.5 billion for "clean coal" programs, $2.2 billion in incentives for alternative motor vehicles, and $1.8 billion for the electric power industry and other businesses. A natural gas pipeline from Alaska would be authorized an $18 billion loan guarantee. It would add to the requirement that gasoline sold in the United States contain a specified volume of ethanol. Makers of the gasoline additive MTBE would be protected from liability. They would be required though to cease production of the additive by 2015. Reliability standards would be imposed for electricity transmissions networks, through this bill. The bill would also ease the restrictions on utility ownership and mergers.
Reference: Energy Policy Act of 2004; Bill HR 4503 ; vote number 2004-241 on Jun 15, 2004

Voted YES on raising CAFE standards; incentives for alternative fuels.

Require a combined corporate average fuel efficiency [CAFE] standard for passenger automobiles and light trucks, including sport utility vehicles, of 26 mpg in 2005 and of 27.5 mpg in 2007. It also would offer incentives for alternative fuel vehicles.
Bill HR 4 ; vote number 2001-311 on Aug 1, 2001

Voted YES on prohibiting oil drilling & development in ANWR.

Amendment to maintain the current prohibition on oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by striking language opening the reserve up to development.
Bill HR 4 ; vote number 2001-317 on Aug 1, 2001

Voted YES on starting implementation of Kyoto Protocol.

Vote on an amendment that would allow the implementation of the portions of the Kyoto climate change treaty that are already allowed under law. The Kyoto protocol of 1997, which aims to reduce emissions of certain greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, has not been ratified by the United States. The amendment would allow federal agencies, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] to implement procedures already allowed under law that are also part of the Kyoto accord before the treaty is ratified by Congress.
Reference: Amendment sponsored by Olver, D-MA; Bill HR 4690 ; vote number 2000-323 on Jun 26, 2000

Regulate wholesale electricity & gas prices.

Lantos adopted the Progressive Caucus Position Paper:

The Problem

Escalating energy costs have almost no correlation with supply and demand. Adequate capacity to supply our current energy needs is and has always been plentiful within the energy markets. Newly formed deregulated energy companies are creating an artificial shortage and reaping tremendous profits while doing so.

The Progressive Caucus Solution: Wholesale Cost-based Pricing with Refunds

In the 1930s, wholesale electricity prices and wholesale natural gas prices were regulated, and the regulations provided for refunds if unjust or unreasonable rates were found. Since the late 1970s, these laws have been methodically dismantled leaving little federal price regulations to protect consumers. However, energy prices are easily manipulated as production and delivery systems are complex. Cost-based rates for wholesale electricity, natural gas, heating oil should be established to protect consumers from unjust and unfair prices. Cost based rates allow utilities to recover the cost of their investment and operations while also allowing a reasonable profit. This is not a price capó FERC sets prices based on a specific, professional rationale. Establishing cost-based rates ensure adequate supply is available and removes the profit incentive from shorting the market. The rates should be set retroactively to the beginning of 2000. Refunds will be issued to families and businesses who have racked up incredible debt in 2000 and 2001, paying the unreasonable and unjust charges that the energy producers, generators and wholesalers inflicted.
Source: Progressive Caucus' Consumer Energy Rate Relief Act 01-CPC1 on Mar 16, 2001

Preserve Alaska's ANWR instead of drilling it.

Lantos co-sponsored the Morris K. Udall Arctic Wilderness Act:

Title: To preserve the Arctic coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, as wilderness in recognition of its extraordinary natural ecosystems and for the permanent good of present and future generations of Americans.

Summary: Designates specified lands within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness and components of the National Wilderness Preservation System [which would preclude oil exploration and drilling].

Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR770 on Feb 28, 2001

Rated 100% by the CAF, indicating support for energy independence.

Lantos scores 100% by CAF on energy issues

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 CAF scores as follows:

About the CAF (from their website, www.ourfuture.org):

The Campaign for America's Future (CAF) is a center for ideas and action that works to build an enduring majority for progressive change. The Campaign advances a progressive economic agenda and a vision of the future that works for the many, not simply the few. The Campaign is leading the fight for America's priorities--against privatization of Social Security, for investment in energy independence, good jobs and a sustainable economy, for an ethical and accountable Congress and for high quality public education.

About the CAF report, "Energy Independence: Record vs. Rhetoric":

Energy independence has surfaced as a defining issue in the current elections. Are most candidates and both parties truly committed? To help distinguish the demonstrated level of support for homegrown, clean energy alternatives, we examined the voting records of current U.S. Representatives and Senators on bills vital to promoting those interests. Key pieces of legislation included goals for independence, and subsidies for the development of alternatives compared to subsidies for drilling and digging. We then compared votes on these issues with campaign contributions from major oil interests. The results show strong inverse correlations between political contributions from big oil and votes for energy independence.

Source: CAF "Energy Independence" Report 06n-CAF on Dec 31, 2006

Other candidates on Energy & Oil: Tom Lantos on other issues:
CA Gubernatorial:
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Gray Davis

Democratic retirements
& special elections:

D,AL-5:Cramer
D,CA-12:Lantos
D,CO-2:Udall
D,IN-7:Carson
D,NY-21:McNulty
D,ME-1:Allen
D,MD-4:Wynn
D,NM-3:Udall
D,OR-5:Hooley

Republican special elections:
R,IL-14:Hastert
R,LA-1:Jindal
R,LA-6:Baker
R,MS-1:Wicker
R,OH-5:Gillmor
Republican retirements:
R,AL-2:Everett
R,AZ-1:Renzi
R,CA-4:Doolittle
R,CA-52:Hunter
R,CO-6:Tancredo
R,FL-15:Weldon
R,IL-11:Weller
R,IL-18:LaHood
R,KY-2:Lewis
R,LA-4:McCrery
R,MD-1:Gilchrest
R,MN-3:Ramstad
R,MO-9:Hulshof
R,MS-3:Pickering
R,NJ-3:Saxton
R,NJ-7:Ferguson
R,NM-1:Wilson
R,NM-2:Pearce
R,NY-25:Walsh
R,NY-26:Reynolds
R,OH-7:Hobson
R,OH-15:Pryce
R,OH-16:Regula
R,PA-5:Peterson
R,VA-11:Davis
R,WY-0:Cubin
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Page last updated: 3/27/2008