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Lincoln Chafee on Energy & Oil

Independent RI Governor; previously Republican Senator (1999-2007)


Close the SUV loophole and raise mileage standards overall

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rules were enacted in 1975, after the shock of the Arab oil embargo of 2 years earlier. In my tenure in Washington, there were frequent votes on raising the mileage standards as well as closing the loophole that exempts sport utility vehicles from the CAFE standards. The loophole was designed to help the American Motors Corporation, which was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy at the time.

On vote after vote, we failed to close the SUV loophole and raise mileage standards overall. Unfortunately, American carmakers fight these efforts to mandate fuel-efficient vehicles and, predictably, foreigners are beating us in the marketplace just as they did in the 1970s. The industry has a history of fighting innovation.

Source: Against the Tide, by Sen. Lincoln Chafee, p.110 , Apr 1, 2008

ANWR: Let's leave just one place off limits

If we open up ANWR to drilling, there are bound to be conflicts between the crews bringing out the oil and bears that want to get in among the mobile homes.

I thought, "Let's leave just one place off limits." A Republican president, Dwight Eisenhower, had signed ANWR into existence; I was not about to be a part of undoing his vision.

If ANWR is a wildlife refuge, wildlife should find sanctuary there, by definition. Letting in the oil companies while still calling it a refuge struck me as dishonest.

Source: Against the Tide, by Sen. Lincoln Chafee, p.109 , Apr 1, 2008

Supports spending resources to stop Global Warming

Chafee announced his support for the concept of a federal tax credit to encourage the purchase and use of alternative fuel vehicles. Chafee also announced that he is seeking federal funding to provide the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) with $5 million in FY 2001 to purchase more natural gas buses. “Our dependence on foreign oil is steadily increasing, from 34 percent in 1973 to an estimated 75 percent by 2020,” Chafee said.
Source: Press Release, “Atlernative Fuel Vehicles”, April 24, 2000 , Sep 19, 2000

Voted YES on disallowing an oil leasing program in Alaska's ANWR.

To remove the establishment of an oil and gas leasing program in the Alaskan Coastal Plain. The original bill allows for an oil and gas leasing program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Voteing YES on this amendment would remove that section, hence barring leasing in ANWR.
Reference: Bar Oil and Gas Leasing amendment; Bill S Amdt 2358 to S 1932 ; vote number 2005-288 on Nov 3, 2005

Voted YES on $3.1B for emergency oil assistance for hurricane-hit areas.

To provide for appropriations for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Vote on a motion to waive the Budget Act in order to adopt an amendment that appropriates federal funds for the LIHEAP program. A 3/5th vote is required to amand a budget bi
Reference: Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program appropriation; Bill S.AMDT.2033 to HR 2863 ; vote number 2005-250 on Oct 5, 2005

Voted YES on reducing oil usage by 40% by 2025 (instead of 5%).

Amendment to improve the energy security of the United States and reduce United States dependence on foreign oil imports by 40% by 2025. The amendment seeks to reduce usage by 7.6 million barrels of oil a day, out of a total usage of 20 million barrels of oil a day. The bill without amendment seeks to reduce usage by 1 million barrels of oil a day. Opponents of the amendment said, "It would be disruptive of jobs if you set a 78 mile per gallon CAFÉ standard for cars, a 185-percent increase; a 60 mile per gallon standard for trucks, light trucks, a 174-percent increase. [The unamended version] is more in keeping with President Kennedy's "man on the Moon" goal. [The amended version] is a "man or woman on Mars" goal, and maybe we will get there one day, but it is unrealistic today."
Reference: Energy Policy Act of 2005; Bill S.Amdt. 784 to H.R. 6 ; vote number 2005-140 on Jun 16, 2005

Voted YES on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Vote to adopt an amendment that would strike a provision in the concurrent resolution that recognizes revenue from oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The amendment says: "To ensure that legislation that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, other federal lands, and the Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling receives full consideration and debate in the Senate under regular order, rather than being fast-tracked under reconciliation procedures; to ensure that receipts from such drilling destined for the federal treasury are fairly shared with local jurisdictions; and does not occur unless prohibitions against the export of Alaskan oil are enacted."
Reference: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge anti-drilling Amendment; Bill S AMDT 168 to S.Con.Res. 18 ; vote number 2005-52 on Mar 16, 2005

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 targeting 100,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2010.

Dorgan Amdt. No. 865; To require that the hydrogen commercialization plan of the Department of Energy include a description of activities to support certain hydrogen technology deployment goals. Part of S 14 Energy Omnibus bill; this vote would pass an amendment that would call for the Department of Energy to set targets and timelines to maintain the production of 100,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2010, and 2.5 million vehicles annually by 2020. It also would call for the department to set targets for the sale of hydrogen at fueling stations. The bill would require the Energy secretary to submit a yearly progress report to Congress.
Reference: Bill S.14 ; vote number 2003-212 on Jun 10, 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

Keep efficient air conditioner rule to conserve energy.

Chafee 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

Establish greenhouse gas tradeable allowances.

Chafee co-sponsored establishing greenhouse gas tradeable allowances

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A bill to provide for a program of scientific research on abrupt climate change, to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the US by establishing a market-driven system of greenhouse gas tradeable allowances, to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the US and reduce dependence upon foreign oil, and ensure benefits to consumers from the trading in such allowances.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. McCAIN: This bill is designed to begin a meaningful and shared effort among the emission-producing sectors of our country to address the world's greatest environmental challenge--climate change.

The National Academy of Sciences reported, "temperatures are, in fact, rising." The overwhelming body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is real, that it is happening as we speak.

Terrible things are happening at the poles, which will have global implications. Amplified global warming, rising sea levels, and potential alterations in ocean circulation patterns are among the global concerns.

The International Climate Change Task Force recommended that "all developed countries introduce mandatory cap-and-trade systems for carbon emissions and construct them to allow for future integration into a single global market." That is already being done in Europe as we speak, which is the substance of this legislation.

If we do not move on this issue, our children and grandchildren are going to pay an incredibly heavy price because this crisis is upon us, only we do not see its visible aspects in all of its enormity. We have done relatively nothing besides gather additional data and make reports. That is what the US national policy is today: gather information and make reports. I would argue that is a pretty heavy burden to lay on future generations of Americans.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works; never came to a vote.

Source: Climate Stewardship Act (S.342/H.R.759) 05-S0342 on Feb 10, 2005

Letter to Congress supporting renewable energy tax credit.

Chafee signed American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension

Congressional Summary:Amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend through 2016 the tax credit for electricity produced from wind, biomass, geothermal or solar energy, landfill gas, trash, hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy facilities.

Proponent's Comments (Governor's Wind Energy Coalition letter of Nov. 15, 2011 signed by 23 governors):Although the tax credit for wind energy has long enjoyed bipartisan support, it is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2012. Wind-related manufacturing is beginning to slow in our states because the credit has not yet been extended. If Congress pursues a last minute approach to the extension, the anticipated interruption of the credit's benefits will result in a significant loss of high-paying jobs in a growing sector of the economy. We strongly urge Congress to adopt a more consistent and longer-term federal tax policy to support wind energy development, such as H.R. 3307.

The leading wind project developers and manufacturers are slowing their plans for 2013 and beyond due to the current uncertainty. The ripple effect of this slow down means reduced orders for turbines and decreased business for the hundreds of manufacturers who have entered the wind industry in our states. When Congress allowed the tax credit to expire in 1999, 2001, and 2003, the development of new wind installations dropped significantly, between 73% and 93%, and thousands of jobs were lost. Providing renewable energy tax credits in order to provide consistency with conventional energy tax credits is the right policy to move the nation forward in an energy sector that offers global export opportunities and the ability to modernize a segment of our electric production infrastructure.

Source: H.R.3307 11-H3307 on Nov 2, 2011

Supports immediate reductions in greenhouse gases.

Chafee adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership issue stance:

The Republican Main Street Partnership supports the goal of immediate, near-term reductions in greenhouse gases, and would move toward this goal by providing strong incentives that have minimal adverse impact on the economy, and to continue to apply our best scientific minds to developing a better understanding of the long-term nature of climate change and the means to cope with it.

    Two objectives should be accomplished:
  1. create an "early action crediting system" to provide assurances to companies that actions taken now to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases will be recognized and credited in the eventual system of emissions reductions standards that will be developed; and
  2. commit the necessary resources to national and international scientific efforts to better understand the cause and effect of global climate change.
With regard to global warming, the Republican Main Street Partnership recognizes that a longer debate over the proper U.S. role in implementing the Kyoto Protocol should and will occur. In so doing, we hope to bolster our scientific understanding of the problem and perhaps, in turn, provide immediate incentives for communities and corporations to act in their own and the nation's best interests in reducing emissions. We are strongly committed to acting on the emerging consensus for progress and constructive change, and maintaining America's ability to lead the world in the critical area of environmental protection.
Source: Republican Main Street Partnership Issue Paper: Environment 98-RMSP2 on Sep 9, 1998

Other governors on Energy & Oil: Lincoln Chafee on other issues:
RI Gubernatorial:
Donald Carcieri
RI Senatorial:
Jack Reed
Mark Zaccaria
Sheldon Whitehouse

Election 2013:
NJ-R: Chris Christie (won)
NJ-D: Barbara Buono (lost)
VA-R: Bob McDonnell(Retiring)
VA-R: Ken Cuccinelli (lost)
VA-D: Terry McAuliffe (won)

Gubernatorial Debates 2014:
AL: Bentley(R) vs.Griffith(D)
AR: Ross(D) vs.Hutchinson(R) vs.Griffin(R,Lt.Gov.)
AZ: Riggs(R) vs.DuVal(D) vs.Mealer(I)
CA: Brown(D) vs.Kashkari(R)
CO: Hickenlooper(D) vs.Beauprez(R) vs.Tancredo(R) vs.Hess(L)
CT: Malloy(D) vs.Foley(R) vs.Walker(R,Lt.Gov.)
FL: Scott(R) vs.Crist(D)
GA: Deal(R) vs.Carter(D)
HI: Abercrombie(D) vs.Aiona(R)
IA: Branstad(R) vs.Hoefling(R) vs.Hatch(D)
MA: Coakley(D) vs.Grossman(D) vs.Berwick(D) vs.Baker(R)
ME: LePage(R) vs.Michaud(D) vs.Cutler(I)
MI: Snyder(R) vs.Schauer(D)
NM: Martinez(R) vs.King(D)
NY: Cuomo(D) vs.Astorino(R) vs.Hawkins(G) vs.Teachout(D) vs.Hochul(D,Lt.Gov.)
OK: Fallin(R) vs.Dorman(D)
PA: Corbett(R) vs.Wolf(D) vs.Schwartz(D,lost primary) vs.Critz(D,Lt.Gov.,lost primary)
Up for re-election 2014:
AK-R: Sean Parnell
AL-R: Robert Bentley
CA-D: Jerry Brown
CO-D: John Hickenlooper
CT-D: Dan Malloy
FL-R: Rick Scott
GA-R: Nathan Deal
HI-D: Neil Abercrombie
IA-R: Terry Branstad
ID-R: Butch Otter
IL-D: Pat Quinn
KS-R: Sam Brownback
ME-R: Paul LePage
MI-R: Rick Snyder
MN-D: Mark Dayton
NH-D: Maggie Hassan
NM-R: Susana Martinez
NV-R: Brian Sandoval
NY-D: Andrew Cuomo
OH-R: John Kasich
OK-R: Mary Fallin
OR-D: John Kitzhaber
PA-R: Tom Corbett
SC-R: Nikki Haley
SD-R: Dennis Daugaard
TN-R: Bill Haslam
VT-D: Peter Shumlin
WI-R: Scott Walker
WY-R: Matt Mead
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Term-Limited or Retiring 2014:
AR-D: Mike Beebe
AZ-R: Jan Brewer
MA-D: Deval Patrick
MD-D: Martin O'Malley
RI-I: Linc Chafee
TX-R: Rick Perry

 

Page last updated: Jul 12, 2014