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Bernie Sanders on Energy & Oil

Democratic primry challenger; Socialist Senator; previously Representative (VT-At-Large)

 


Need revolution to move away from coal and oil

CLINTON: The clean power plan is something that Senator Sanders has said he would delay implementing, which makes no sense. We need to implement the president's executive actions and quickly move to make a bridge from coal to natural gas to clean energy. That is the way we will keep the lights on while we are transitioning to a clean energy future.

SANDERS: What candidates are saying is if we stand up to the fossil fuel industry, and transform our energy system away from coal and oil and gas to energy efficiency and wind and solar and geothermal and other sustainable technologies, you know what happens to that Republican who listens to the scientists? That Republican loses his campaign funding from the Koch brothers. I'm the only candidate who says no president can do it all. We need a political revolution. When millions of people tell the fossil fuel industry that their short-term profits are less significant than the long-term health of this planet, we will win.

Source: 2016 PBS Democratic primary debate in Miami , Mar 9, 2016

End fracking in the US

I hope that Secretary Clinton would join me if we are serious about climate change, about imposing a tax on carbon on the fossil fuel industry and making massive investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy. I hope you'll join me in ending fracking in the United States of America.
Source: 2016 PBS Democratic primary debate in Miami , Mar 9, 2016

I oppose fracking; anyone who says it is safe is wrong

Q: Do you support fracking? And its risk of contaminating the water supply?

SANDERS: My answer--my answer is a lot shorter. No, I do not support fracking.

CLINTON: #1, I don't support it when any locality or any state is against it. #2, I don't support it when the release of methane or contamination of water is present. I don't support it, #3, unless we can require that anybody who fracks has to tell us exactly what chemicals they are using.

Q [to Sanders]: A number of Democratic governors say that fracking can be done safely, and that it's helping their economies. Are they wrong?

SANDERS: Yes. Secretary Clinton has the support of all the Democratic governors. I am not part of that establishment. I am a member of the Environmental Committee. And I talk to scientists who tell me that fracking is doing terrible things to water systems. We have gotta be bold now. We gotta transform our energy system to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. We've gotta do it yesterday.

Source: 2016 Democratic primary debate in Flint, Michigan , Mar 6, 2016

Climate change partly causes rise of terrorist groups

Q: You say you want to rid the planet of ISIS. In the previous debate you said the greatest threat to national security was climate change. Do you still believe that?

SANDERS: Absolutely. In fact, climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism. And if we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say, you're going to see countries all over the world--this is what the CIA says--they're going to be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops ask you're going to see all kinds of international conflict.

Source: 2015 CBS Democratic primary debate in Iowa , Nov 14, 2015

Address climate change so we can leave planet to our kids

Q [to all]: What is the greatest national security threat to the United States?

CHAFEE: It's certainly the chaos in the Middle East. And it all started with the Iraq invasion.

O'MALLEY: I believe that nuclear Iran remains the biggest threat, along with the threat of ISIL; climate change, of course, makes cascading threats.

CLINTON: I think it has to be continued threat from the spread of nuclear material that can fall into the wrong hands.

WEBB: Our greatest long-term strategic challenge is our relation with China.

Q: Senator Sanders, greatest national security threat?

SANDERS: The scientific community is telling us that if we do not address the global crisis of climate change, transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to sustainable energy, the planet that we're going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren may well not be habitable. That is a major crisis.

Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas , Oct 13, 2015

Climate change is a moral issue: tax on carbon

Pope Francis made this point. This [climate change] is a moral issue. The scientists are telling us we need to move boldly. I am proud that, along with Senator Boxer, a few years ago, we introduced the first piece of climate change legislation which called for a tax on carbon. Nothing is gonna happen unless we [deal] with campaign finance reform, because the fossil fuel industry is funding the Republican Party, which denies the reality of climate change. The future of the planet is at stake.
Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas , Oct 13, 2015

Opposed Keystone Pipeline from day one

I believe that climate change is the great global crisis that we face, environmental crisis. From day one, I opposed the Keystone Pipeline because I believe that if you're serious about climate change, you don't encourage the excavation and transportation of very dirty oil. That was my view from day one.
Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd , Oct 11, 2015

Combat climate skeptics with overwhelming evidence

Bernie has spent hundreds of hours vigorously debating and combating climate skeptic politicians. He has long been unsettled over some of his colleagues' responses to overwhelming scientific evidence and approaches to policies combating global warming through greenhouse gas emission reductions. He strongly believes the influence of lobbying is to blame for much of the climate change skepticism.

Bernie has repeatedly called climate skeptics out on their rejection of science. For example, during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in July 2014, Bernie said: "We have a major political party which is rejecting what the majority of the scientific community is saying."

It's no secret that large energy corporations fund scientists who work towards emphasizing the complexity of the knowledge surrounding climate change and its contribution to greenhouse-gas emissions. They also donate a lot of money to politicians. Bernie refuses to take money from any corporate donors.

Source: 2016 grassroots campaign website FeelTheBern.org, "Issues" , Sep 5, 2015

Keystone pipeline transports the dirtiest fossil fuel

In 2015, through a "sense of congress" amendment on the early 2015 Keystone XL pipeline bill, Bernie forced fellow senators to state for the congressional record if they believe "that climate change is real, human-caused, and already creating devastating problems; that there's a brief window to act before 'irreparable harm' results; and that the United States should shift to cleaner energy sources."

Bernie was a congressional leader in opposing the Keystone XL pipeline in 2014 and recently applauded president Obama's veto promise on the measure.

Bernie said about other 2016 presidential candidates' environmental policies: "It is hard for me to understand how one can be concerned about climate change but not vigorously oppose the Keystone pipeline. We must make significant reduction in carbon emissions and break our dependency on fossil fuels. That is why I have helped lead the fight in the Senate against the Keystone pipeline, which would transport some of the dirtiest fossil fuel in the world."

Source: 2016 grassroots campaign website FeelTheBern.org, "Issues" , Sep 5, 2015

Charge companies for carbon emissions; then fund renewables

On climate change: Charge companies for carbon emissions.

Considered to be a "climate change hawk," Sanders argues that shifting global temperatures are a significant threat and caused by human activity. He has sponsored a bill which would charge companies for their carbon emissions and use some of the money raised to boost renewable energy technology.

Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series , Apr 30, 2015

Transform to sustainable system & away from fossil fuels

The US must lead the world in tackling climate change and make certain that this planet is habitable for our children and grandchildren. We must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energies. Millions of homes and buildings need to be weatherized, our transportation system needs to be energy efficient and we need to greatly accelerate the progress we are already seeing in wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and other forms of sustainable energy. Transforming our energy system will not only protect the environment, it will create good paying jobs.

Unless we take bold action to address climate change, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to look back on this period in history and ask a very simple question: Where were they? Why didn't the US lead the international community in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and preventing the devastating damage that the scientific community was sure would come?

Source: 2016 presidential campaign website, BernieSanders.com , Mar 21, 2015

Weatherize millions of homes and buildings

Reversing Climate Change:
The US must lead the world in reversing climate change and make certain that this planet is habitable for our children and grandchildren. We must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energies. Millions of homes and buildings need to be weatherized, our transportation system needs to be energy efficient and we need to greatly accelerate the progress we are already seeing in wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and other forms of sustainable energy. Transforming our energy system will not only protect the environment, it will create good paying jobs.
Source: 12 Steps Forward, by Sen. Bernie Sanders , Jan 15, 2015

Gas tax increases are regressive

Clinton's 1993 budget included a largely PROGRESSIVE tax proposal which fell disproportionately on the wealthiest people in the country.

Unfortunately, there WERE elements of regressive taxation in that proposal, including a 4.3% increase in the gas tax. That's about $30/year for the average Vermonter, not much but still regressive in that it hits the average working stiff who travels 100 miles a day to and from work.

Source: Outsider in the House, by Bernie Sanders, p.196 , Jun 17, 1997

Voted NO 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

Reference: Energy Tax Prevention Act; Bill Am183 to S.49 ; vote number 11-SV054 on Apr 6, 2011

Voted NO on protecting middle-income taxpayers from a national energy tax.