Joe Sestak on Energy & Oil


Offshore drilling moratorium; oversight of Marcellus Shale

Toomey is skeptical of proposals to expand federal oversight of drilling in the Marcellus Shale fields. He opposes open-ended moratoriums on new ocean drilling, arguing that the nation needs the oil from deep water wells.

Sestak counters that Toomey's aversion to government regulation poses short- and long-term threats to the environment and the economy. Sestak has endorsed legislation that would bring Marcellus Shale drilling under the oversight of the Safe Drinking Water Act. He has echoed President Barack Obama's call for a strict moratorium on offshore drilling. Before the Deepwater Horizon spill, he expressed reservations about the administration's decision to expand the areas available for offshore drilling.

Those issues have provided ammunition for persistent sniping: "Toomey sides with Big Oil in the wake of BP disaster," Sestak charged in a press statements. "On energy, Sestak to the left of many Democrats," a Toomey statement contended.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette coverage of 2010 PA Senate Debates , Jun 14, 2010

Championed cap-and-trade; market forces to reduce emissions

Toomey is a sharp critic of the cap-and-trade bill supported by his opponent, contending that it would have disastrous consequences for Pennsylvania businesses. Sestak championed the House version of cap-and-trade legislation designed to use market force to increase the costs of carbon emissions.

Toomey claims Sestak's voting record is more liberal than the views of his state on energy as on other issues. On cap and trade, for example, Toomey notes that four of Sestak's colleagues in the House Democratic delegation voted against the bill.

Defending his vote in favor of cap-and-trade, Sestak counters that it would actually increase the number of jobs in the state in the longer term. Sestak invokes a a 2009 estimate that the bill would add more than 70,000 jobs in Pennsylvania. Sestak maintains that the carbon curbs would help protect the state's $4.7 billion agriculture industry. He concedes its emissions controls could lead to residential electricity price increases in the short term.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette coverage of 2010 PA Senate Debates , Jun 14, 2010

Global warming is principally man-made; regulate CO2

The candidates differ on the core issue of global warming, and whether climate legislation would do anything to alleviate it.

Toomey acknowledges that global warming exists but he is an agnostic on the crucial question of whether it is a product of human activity. "There's no question that the Earth's surface temperature has increased," he said in a statement. "There is much debate in the scientific community as to the precise sources of global warming."

Sestak said global warming is principally man-made, citing a series of scientific findings on the matter. "I know Congressman Toomey is quite extreme, quite radical, but the vast majority of the mainstream says yes, it is man-made," he said.

In keeping with those positions, the opponents split this week on a closely watched Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, that would have stripped the EPA of the ability to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. Sestak's campaign said he would have opposed the measure. Toomey supported the bill.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette coverage of 2010 PA Senate Debates , Jun 14, 2010

Reduce greenhouse emissions & stop global warming

Our global environment is at a tipping point; we must reduce greenhouse emissions, stop global warming now, and end our nation's dependence on foreign oil and our often careless disregard for precious natural resources. We need a comprehensive strategy with innovative solutions to our energy and environmental crisis that protects our air, water and land.
Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, www.joesestak.com, "Issues" , Dec 25, 2009

Create an advanced alternative energy research project

We must do everything we can to lessen our dependence on foreign oil by adopting a plan that would: raise fuel economy standards on automobiles to at least 35-40 mpg; offer tax incentives to businesses that utilize alternative fuels rather than to big oil companies; and create an advanced energy research project to produce breakthrough technologies that can reduce oil consumption, strengthen energy efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.As a member of Congress, I will work to:
  1. Reduce our dependence on foreign oil
  2. Protect against unexpected price shocks by supporting legislation on gas price gouging
  3. Support the signing of the Kyoto Treaty to reduce carbon dioxide emissions
  4. Set 10 percent target for renewable energy and an ultimate target of 20 percent
  5. Invest in alternative technologies such as fuel cells and bio-diesel
  6. Strengthen “tailpipe emissions” standards
  7. Prohibit drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Source: 2006 House campaign website, sestakforcongress.com, “Issues” , Nov 7, 2006

Voted YES on enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution.

Congressional Summary:Requires utilities to supply an increasing percentage of their demand from a combination of energy efficiency savings and renewable energy (6% in 2012, 9.5% in 2014, 13% in 2016, 16.5% in 2018, and 20% in 2021). Provides for:
  1. issuing, trading, and verifying renewable electricity credits; and
  2. prescribing standards to define and measure electricity savings from energy efficiency and energy conservation measures.
Amends the Clean Air Act (CAA) to set forth a national strategy to address barriers to the commercial-scale deployment of carbon capture and sequestration.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. ED MARKEY (D, MA-7): For the first time in the history of our country, we will put enforceable limits on global warming pollution. At its core, however, this is a jobs bill. It will create millions of new, clean-energy jobs in whole new industries with incentives to drive competition in the energy marketplace. It sets ambitious and achievable standards for energy efficiency and renewable energy from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass so that by 2020, 20% of America's energy will be clean.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BOB GOODLATTE (R, VA-6): I agree that this bill has very important consequences, but those consequences are devastating for the future of the economy of this country. It's a fantasy that this legislation will turn down the thermostat of the world by reducing CO2 gas emissions when China & India & other nations are pumping more CO2 gas into the atmosphere all the time. We would be far better served with legislation that devotes itself to developing new technologies before we slam the door on our traditional sources of energy like coal and oil and and nuclear power. We support the effort for energy efficiency. We do not support this kind of suicide for the American economy. Unfortunately, cap and trade legislation would only further cripple our economy.

Reference: American Clean Energy and Security Act; Bill H.R.2454 ; vote number 2009-H477 on Jun 26, 2009

Voted YES on tax credits for renewable electricity, with PAYGO offsets.

Congressional Summary:Extends the tax credit for producing electricity from renewable resources:

Proponent's argument to vote Yes: Rep. RICHARD NEAL (D, MA-2): This bill contains extensions of popular tax incentives that expired at the end of last year. This needs to get under way. The R&D tax credit is important. This bill includes a number of popular and forward-thinking incentives for energy efficiency. This is a very balanced bill which does no harm to the Federal Treasury. It asks that hedge fund managers pay a bit more, and it delays an international tax break that hasn't gone into effect yet. It is responsible legislation.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. DAVE CAMP (R, MI-4): We are conducting another purely political exercise on a tax bill that is doomed in the other body because of our House majority's insistence on adhering to the misguided PAYGO rules. The Senate acted on a bipartisan basis to find common ground on this issue. They approved a comprehensive tax relief package containing extenders provisions that are not fully offset, as many Democrats would prefer, but contain more offsets than Republicans would like. Why is this our only option? Because the Senate, which has labored long and hard to develop that compromise, has indicated in no uncertain terms that it is not going to reconsider these issues again this year.

[The bill was killed in the Senate].

Reference: Renewable Energy and Job Creation Tax Act; Bill H.R.7060 ; vote number 2008-H649 on Sep 26, 2008

Voted YES on tax incentives for energy production and conservation.

OnTheIssues.org Explanation: This bill passed the House but was killed in the Senate on a rejected Cloture Motion, Senate rollcall #150

Congressional Summary: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide Tax incentives for energy production and conservation, to extend certain expiring provisions, and to provide individual income tax relief.