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Dennis Kucinich on Energy & Oil

Democratic Representative (OH-10)


Voted against drilling in Alaska, against union preference

Q: Are there any issues with unions with which you disagree?

A: The Teamsters wanted to drill in Alaska. I voted against drilling in Alaska. So it’s not like I’m a slam dunk on every issue. But I’m for working people. That’s why I’m up here.

Source: 2007 Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nevada , Nov 15, 2007

Cost of nuclear energy ignores storage continuing forever

Q: Would you be in favor of developing more nuclear power to reduce oil dependency?

A: Well, I know a little bit about this because I actually blocked a nuclear dump in Ohio. And I was one of the few up here who actually spoke against having a nuclear dump in Nevada. The truth of the matter is that nuclear power is very expensive. They never factored in the cost of storage, which continues forever. I want an emphasis on solar and wind, drive down this energy curve of hydrocarbon consumption.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College , Sep 6, 2007

Current approach to energy results in war for oil

Q: What about global warming?

A: We have to understand the connection between global warring and global warming. Because when we start talking about wars for oil, we’re essentially keeping the same approach to energy. We need to move away from reliance on oil and coal and toward reliance on wind and solar. That’s the basis of my WGA, Works Green Administration, where we take an entirely new approach to organize the entire country around sustainability, around conservation.

Q: Are your fellow candidates green enough?

A: No. If you support, for example, in Iraq, if you say that Iraq should privatize its oil for the US oil companies, then what you’re doing is you’re continuing a commitment to use more oil. If you believe that all options should be put on the table with respect to Iran, that’s about oil. So we need to move away from reliance on oil. And that’s really connected to our defense policy, and I’m the one who gets the connection.

Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC , Jul 23, 2007

Twin threats of global warring and global warming

We need to understand the connection between peace and the environment. We know that life on our planet is threatened by the twin threats of global warring and global warming. They are linked, and we have to understand that as we recognize the world as being interconnected and interdependent, we know that resource wars are passe and that the focus on sustainability will create peace.

We know that as we move away from an addiction to oil and coal and go to green energy, to wind and solar and fuel cell technology, we reduce our carbon footprint; we reduce this quest and lust for oil. We move forward with harmony with each other and harmony with nature.

As we reduce our carbon footprint, simultaneously we work with the world community. The Kyoto Climate Change Treaty is just the first step. We need to go beyond Kyoto. We need to reach out to the world and reduce our carbon emissions, and we need to have environmental protection to secure our food supplies.

Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference , Jun 20, 2007

Raise CAFE standard from 27.5 mpg to 45, and 40 for SUVs

Q: Would you increase the required automobile fleet average of 27.5 mpg; and SUVs and pickups averaging 20.7 mpg?

A: The technology already exists to make light trucks that achieve 40 mpg and cars 45 mpg, and I will establish those standards as one early step in a major shift away from the use of fossil fuels.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, “Fuel Efficiency” , Jan 25, 2004

Nuclear waste poses grave danger to US

Nuclear waste poses a serious threat to this nation. The transportation of this waste will require over 96,000 truck shipments over 4 decades. More radioactive waste will be shipped in the first full year of repository operations than has been transported in the entire five-decade history of spent fuel shipments in the United States. Poorly tested transportation casks may be vulnerable to highway accidents and security breaches. Because of a lack of rail facilities to several reactors the Department of Energy will use barge shipments to move this waste to a port capable of transferring 120 ton casks to a train. Some of these shipments will occur on the Great Lakes. The world’s largest source of fresh water, over 35 million people living in the Great Lakes basin use it for drinking water. [Kucinich] introduced the Nuclear Waste Transportation Protection Amendments Act of 2002 to “radically improve the safety and security” of these shipments.
Source: 2004 House campaign website, Kucinich.us, “On The Issues” , Aug 1, 2003

Auto-dependent sprawl causes runoff pollution

Subsidies for auto-dependent sprawl and transportation further contribute to runoff pollution.
Source: 2004 House campaign website, Kucinich.us, “On The Issues” , Aug 1, 2003

Double our energy from renewable sources by 2010

Q: What is your view on our dependence on fossil fuels?

A: There are many political obstacles - but the oil, auto and electric utility corporations won’t be directing energy policy in a Kucinich White House. I will spur research and investment in “alternative” energy sources - hydrogen, solar, wind and ocean - and make them mainstream. Clean energy technologies will produce new jobs. We can easily double our energy from renewable sources by 2010. I will sign the Kyoto climate change treaty.

Source: MoveOn.org interview , Jun 17, 2003

Global Green Deal for renewable energy

Q: How will you support progressive environmental policies?

A: I will lead the way in protecting our oceans, rivers and rural environments. I will also lead in fighting for clean, affordable and accessible drinking water. I will initiate a “Global Green Deal” for renewable energy, to provide jobs at home, increase our independence from foreign oil, and aid developing nations with cheap, dependable, renewable energy technologies like wind and solar.

Source: MoveOn.org interview , Jun 17, 2003

$50B solar venture fund for developing nations

I will soon announce legislation to create a $50 billion solar venture fund, in cooperation with the UN, to introduce solar technologies to developing nations. Parallel legislation will provide incentives for the production and application of solar technologies in the US.
Source: Speech at UN World Summit, in Prayer for America, p. 40 , Aug 29, 2002


Dennis Kucinich on Voting Record

Journey to planet Earth: renewable energy by 2010

Q: What is the most important environmental issue facing the nation?

KUCINICH: I would lead this country on a new energy initiative. In the same way that President Kennedy decided to bring the academic and spiritual resources of this country to reach the moon, I intend to have a journey to planet Earth about sustainable and renewable energy. By the year 2010, I’ll call upon Americans to assist in creating a program, not only of conservation, but of moving to renewable energy, away from oil, nuclear and coal, and towards wind and solar and geothermal, green hydrogen and biomass.

We’re talking about saving our planet here. We have to understand even here in New Hampshire how trees are affected and [even products like] maple syrup are affected. We have to recognize that the economy of this region has been hurt by environmental policies which dirty the air and the water. I’m going to change that.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College , Jan 22, 2004

Would sign Kyoto climate change treaty

As a citizen of Planet Earth, I want this project for the same reason I will sign the Kyoto climate change treaty -- because we need it for our children and our grandchildren.
Source: 2004 House campaign website, Kucinich.us, “On The Issues” , Aug 1, 2003

Voted NO on opening Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Young, R-AK]: The Americans suffering from $4 a gallon gas today must feel like they're experiencing a sense of deja vu. In 2008, when gasoline prices reached a record high of $4.11 per gallon, the public outcry forced Congress to act. That fall, Congress lifted the offshore drilling ban that had been in place for decades. Three years later, most Americans would likely be shocked to learn that no energy development has happened in these new areas.

Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Markey, D-MA]. In the first 3 months of this year, Exxon-Mobil made $10 billion off of the American consumer; Shell made $8 billion; BP made $7 billion. So what are these companies asking for? These companies are now asking that we open up the beaches of California, Florida & New England to drill for oil. People who live near those beaches don't want oil coming in the way it did in the Gulf of Mexico. Right now, those oil companies are centered down in the Gulf of Mexico. People are concerned because those companies have blocked any new safety reforms that would protect against another catastrophic spill. We have to oppose this bill because, first of all, they already have 60 million acres of American land that they haven't drilled on yet, which has about 11 billion barrels of oil underneath it and an equivalent amount of natural gas. This bill is just a giveaway to Exxon-Mobil and Shell.

Reference: Reversing Pres. Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act; Bill H.1231 ; vote number 11-HV320 on May 12, 2011

Voted NO on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Upton, R-MI]: This legislation will remove the biggest regulatory threat to the American economy. This is a threat imposed not by Congress, but entirely by the Obama EPA. This administration wanted a cap-and-trade system to regulate greenhouse gases, but Congress said no. So beginning in early 2009, EPA began putting together a house of cards to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide. The agency began with automobiles, declaring that their emissions endangered public health. That single endangerment finding has since been used by EPA to launch an unparalleled onslaught. The result, two years later, is a series of regulations that will ultimately affect every citizen, every industry, really every aspect of our economy and way of life.

Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Waxman, D-CA]: This bill is a direct assault on the Clean Air Act. Its premise is that climate change is a hoax and carbon pollution does not endanger health and welfare. But climate change is real. It is caused by pollution, and it is a serious threat to our health and welfare. We need to confront these realities. American families count on the EPA to keep our air and water clean. But this bill has politicians overruling the experts at EPA, and it exempts our biggest polluters from regulation. If this bill is enacted, the EPA's ability to control dangerous carbon pollution will be gutted.

Reference: Energy Tax Prevention Act; Bill H.910 ; vote number 11-HV249 on Apr 7, 2011

Voted NO 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.