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Jim Jeffords on Energy & Oil

Independent Jr Senator (VT, retiring 2006)


Permanent protection for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

I rise today to support the permanent protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I certainly understand the concerns raised by those calling for more domestic energy production. I don’t disagree that this nation should do more to kick our addiction to foreign oil. I agree it’s time to develop more of our nation’s clean, renewable energy resources. I urge my colleagues to look carefully at creating incentives for clean, domestically produced energy such as ethanol, methanol, natural gas, wind, solar and biomass power. However, we must withhold efforts to drill in one of our nation’s most pristine nature preserves and instead look at alternatives.

It may be easy for some to look at maps of ANWR and envision it as an empty expanse of land that should be valued only for its small and scattered oil pockets. [On the contrary,] in 1997, I traveled to the Refuge and was able to see first hand how beautiful and important this land is to both Alaska and the Nation.

Source: Senate floor statement, “ANWR” Apr 7, 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 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

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 NO 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

Voted YES on approving a nuclear waste repository.

Approval of the interim nuclear waste repository. The repository would be located at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, with an integrated management system for storage and permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Voting YES would authorize the President with sole and unreviewable discretion to determine the suitability of the Yucca Mountain site.
Status: Bill Passed Y)65; N)34; NV)1
Reference: Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1997; Bill S. 104 ; vote number 1997-42 on Apr 15, 1997

Voted YES on do not require ethanol in gasoline.

Funding a mandated percentage of market share for the use of ethanol in gasoline, to be funded b reducing NASA budget b $39 million..
Status: Table Motion Agreed to Y)50; N)50; VP decided YES
Reference: Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 1995; Bill H.R. 4624 ; vote number 1994-255 on Aug 3, 1994

Include pickup trucks in CAFE; include hybrids in HOV lanes.

Jeffords co-sponsored the National Fuel Savings and Security Act

Source: Bill sponsored by 7 Senators 02-S1926 on Feb 8, 2002

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

Jeffords 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.

Jeffords 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.

Jeffords 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

Supports immediate reductions in greenhouse gases.

Jeffords 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 candidates on Energy & Oil: Jim Jeffords on other issues:
VT Gubernatorial:
Jim Douglas
VT Senatorial:
Bernie Sanders
Patrick Leahy

Newly elected in 2008 & seated in 2009:
AK:Begich (D)
CO:Udall (D)
ID:Risch (R)
MN:Franken (D)
NC:Hagan (D)
NE:Johanns (R)
NH:Shaheen (D)
NM:Udall (D)
OR:Merkley (D)
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Newly appointed in 2009;
special election in 2010:

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Page last updated: Nov 22, 2009