Michael Bennet on Energy & Oil

Democratic Presidential Challenger; CO Senator


US is only government officially questioning climate change

Paris, where the United States in 2015 had helped lead the world toward a landmark accord--currently endorsed by 196 nations--to address climate change. Now, under its new president, the United States had become the only country in the world to commit to withdraw from the agreement. The US government was also the only one officially questioning whether climate change was even happening. In Europe, in countries such as Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, parties on the left and right fight ferociously over many issues--but not over whether the planet is warming. Rather they sometimes fight over which party can claim more credit for trying to address the problem. In the United States, an entire political party has embraced climate-change denial as political orthodoxy.
Source: Land of Flickering Lights, by Michael Bennet, p. 73 , Jun 25, 2019

Transition to renewable energy in a ways that create jobs

Eight out of ten Coloradans support new policies to reduce carbon emissions, and nine out of ten support more investment in renewable energy. We have seen the promise of drawing energy from cleaner and more diverse sources. Compared with other states, Colorado ranks fourth in wind jobs; tenth in oil and gas jobs; and ninth in solar jobs. Our largest utility, Xcel energy, has publicly committed to making a 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050, while saving its customers money. Renewable energy now drives more than $9 billion of economic activity annually; our other outdoor industries account for $28 billion. Coloradans perceive climate change as a real threat but are confident we can transition our economy in ways that will foster growth and create jobs.
Source: Land of Flickering Lights, by Michael Bennet, p. 75 , Jun 25, 2019

Build Keystone pipeline, or oil will be transported by rail

According to the State Department in 2014, regardless of whether a pipeline was built, the oil sands in Alberta would still be developed. If the US did not permit the [Keystone XL] pipeline, the oil would be transported by railcars, which were arguably worse than a pipeline in terms of environmental and safety consequences.

There might have been good reasons to defeat the pipeline. If the tar sands were in Colorado instead of Canada, I would chain myself to a fence to avoid the environmental degradation that would occur. But concern about climate change was not a sound reason to oppose the pipeline.

I believed that opposing Keystone on the basis of climate change would destroy my credibility as I argued for the much more significant Clean Power Plan. It was not just my credibility; the credibility of the entire climate science movement was at stake. I have seldom felt this alone in my public life. I voted to build the pipeline when the issue came to the Senate floor several times.

Source: Land of Flickering Lights, by Michael Bennet, p.100-1 , Jun 25, 2019

Climate change is major issue; but not Green New Deal

Bennet has been consistent on the issue of climate change, working toward a comprehensive approach to combat climate change. He was not a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, but he recommends investing in renewable energy.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , May 2, 2019

Permanent tax incentives to spur renewable energy growth

We also need to prioritize energy independence, because our job growth on clean energy has been 18% since 1998, double our job growth in other areas. That's why I support a federal renewable energy standard of 25% by 2025, and permanent tax incentives to spur renewable energy growth.
Source: League of Women Voters 2010 Candidate Questionnaire , Aug 11, 2010

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 required)

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.