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Richard Lugar on Energy & Oil

Republican Sr Senator (IN)


Make all cars "flex-fuel" vehicles

Lugar found himself accused of driving up gas prices. Mourdock leveled the provocative charge that Lugar's ethanol policies are driving up prices at the pump, now at $3.85 a gallon in the state.

Lugar has long been at the forefront of pro-ethanol policies, including a proposal to make sure that all cars are "flex-fuel" vehicles capable of running on ethanol. But Mourdock charged that federal policies promoting ethanol are contributing to rising gas prices. "Most of us, especially as Republicans, object to mandates from the federal government," Mourdock said. "And yet suddenly we saw more ethanol being mandated into our gasoline."

The federal government gave gas refiners a subsidy to add ethanol to their product, but that policy was phased out at the start of 2012. Instead, the federal government now mandates only that the industry add some sort of alternative fuel, which often means ethanol derived from corn.

Source: Huffington Post on 2012 Indiana Senate debate , Apr 12, 2012

Subsidizing ethanol makes overall gasoline prices go down

When Mourdock blamed high gas prices on government regulation and an ethanol mandate that Lugar supported, the Senator fired back. "Ethanol makes the overall prices go down and furthermore, it's a Hoosier product with Hoosier's producing it on farms that meant higher values for corn and higher land values for this state," said Lugar.
Source: 14 News WFIE Evansville on 2012 Indiana Senate debate , Apr 11, 2012

Voted YES 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 YES on protecting middle-income taxpayers from a national energy tax.