Robert Wexler on Energy & Oil
Democratic Representative (FL-19)
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:
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.
- issuing, trading, and verifying renewable electricity credits; and
- prescribing standards to define and measure electricity savings from energy efficiency and energy conservation measures.
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;
; 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:
- (1) through 2009 for wind facilities; and
- (2) through FY2011 for closed and open-loop biomass, geothermal, small irrigation power, landfill gas, trash combustion, and hydropower facilities.
- Includes marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy as a renewable resource for purposes of such tax credit.
- Includes cellulosic biofuel within the definition of "biomass ethanol plant property" for purposes of bonus depreciation.
- Allows a new tax credit for the production of qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicles.
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;
; vote number 2008-H649
on Sep 26, 2008
Voted YES on tax incentives for renewable energy.
CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008:
- Production Incentives: Extends through 2011 the tax credit for the production of electricity from renewable resources (e.g., wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower).
- Extends through 2016 the energy tax credit for investment in solar energy and fuel cell property.
- Allows a new tax credit for the production of plug-in hybrid vehicles.
- Extends through 2010 the tax credits for biodiesel (including agri-biodiesel)
- Allows an alcohol fuels tax credit for the production of qualified cellulosic alcohol fuel.
- Denies the tax deduction for income attributable to domestic production of oil, gas, or any related products.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Rep. MATSUI: Today's debate is about investing in renewable energy, which will chart a new direction for our country's energy policy. This bill restores balance to our energy policy after years of a
tax structure that favors huge oil companies. Today's legislation will transfer some of the massive profits enjoyed by these oil companies and invest them in renewable resources that will power our economy in the future.
OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Rep. SMITH of Texas: I oppose H.R. 5351. While it is well and good to encourage alternative energy development, Congress should not do so by damaging our domestic oil and gas industry. In 2006 all renewable energy sources provided only 6% of the US domestic energy supply. In contrast, oil and natural gas provided 58% of our domestic energy supply. The numbers don't lie. Oil and natural gas fuel our economy and sustain our way of life.
Furthermore, almost 2 million Americans are directly employed in the oil and natural gas industry. Punishing one of our Nation's most important industries does not constitute a national energy policy.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Bill passed House, 236-182
Reference: Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act;
; vote number 08-HR5351
on Feb 12, 2008
Voted YES on investing in homegrown biofuel.
H.R.3221: New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act: Moving toward greater energy independence and security, developing innovative new technologies, reducing carbon emissions, creating green jobs, protecting consumers, increasing clean renewable energy production, modernizing our energy infrastructure, and providing tax incentives for the production of renewable energy and energy conservation.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. PELOSI: This bill makes the largest investment in homegrown biofuels in history. We know that America's farmers will fuel America's independence. We will send our energy dollars to middle America, not to the Middle East.
Rep. TIERNEY: This bill incorporates the Green Jobs Act, which will make $120 million a year available to begin training workers in the clean energy sector. 35,000 people per year can benefit from vocational education for "green-collar jobs" that can provide living wages
& upward mobility.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. SHIMKUS: I'm upset about the bill because it has no coal provisions. What about coal-to-liquid jobs? Those are real jobs with great wages. Energy security? We have our soldiers deployed in the Middle East because it's an important national security interest. Why? We know why. Crude oil. How do we decrease that importance of the Persian Gulf region? We move to coal-to-liquid technologies. What is wrong with this bill? Everything. No soy diesel. No ethanol. No coal. Nothing on nuclear energy. No expansion. There is no supply in this bill. Defeat this bill.
Rep. RAHALL: [This bill omits a] framework to sequester carbon dioxide to ensure the future use of coal in an environmentally responsible fashion. We can talk about biofuels all we want, but the fact is that coal produces half of our electricity for the foreseeable future. We must aggressively pursue technologies to capture and store the carbon dioxide.
Reference: New Direction for Energy Independence;
; vote number 2007-0832
on Aug 4, 2007
Voted YES on criminalizing oil cartels like OPEC.
Amends the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to declare it to be illegal for any foreign states to act collectively to limit the US price or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product. Denies a foreign state engaged in such conduct sovereign immunity from the jurisdiction of US courts
Proponents support voting YES because:
Gas prices have now reached an all-time record high, $3.27 a gallon, topping even the 1981 spike. This won't be the end of these skyrocketing price hikes either.
OPEC oil exports represent 70% of all the oil traded internationally. For years now, OPEC's price-fixing conspiracy has unfairly driven up the price and cost of imported crude oil to satisfy the greed of oil exporters. We have long decried OPEC, but have done little or nothing to stop this.
The time has come.
This bill makes fixing oil prices or illegal under US law, just as it would be for any company engaging in the same conduct. It attempts to break up this cartel and subject these colluders and their anticompetitive practices to the antitrust scrutiny that they so richly deserve.
Opponents support voting NO because:
Reference: No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC);
Bill H R 2264
; vote number 2007-398
on May 22, 2007
- We can only affect OPEC subsidiaries in the US. So the result of this bill would be to hurt US companies while not affecting OPEC itself.
- OPEC is a cartel, but we have to deal with it diplomatically. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act was designed for US monopolies, not international state-run cartels.
- We should focus on domestic policies to affect gas prices. We cannot respond to a short-term crisis with a long-term response.
Voted YES on removing oil & gas exploration subsidies.
Creating Long-term Energy Alternatives for the Nation (CLEAN) Act
- Title I: Ending Subsidies for Big Oil Act--denying a deduction for income attributable to domestic production of oil, natural gas, or their related primary products.
- Title II: Royalty Relief for American Consumers Act--to incorporate specified price thresholds for royalties on oil & gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Title III: Strategic Energy Efficiency And Renewables Reserve--makes the Reserve available to accelerate the use of clean domestic renewable energy resources and alternative fuels.
Proponents support voting YES because:
This legislation seeks to end the unwarranted tax breaks & subsidies which have been lavished on Big Oil over the last several years, at a time of record prices at the gas pump and record oil industry profits. Big Oil is hitting the American taxpayer not once, not twice, but three times. They are hitting them at the pump, they are hitting them through the
Tax Code, and they are hitting them with royalty holidays put into oil in 1995 and again in 2005.
It is time to vote for the integrity of America's resources, to vote for the end of corporate welfare, to vote for a new era in the management of our public energy resources.
Opponents support voting NO because:
I am wearing this red shirt today, because this shirt is the color of the bill that we are debating, communist red. It is a taking. It will go to court, and it should be decided in court.
This bill will increase the competitive edge of foreign oil imported to this country. If the problem is foreign oil, why increase taxes and make it harder to produce American oil and gas? That makes no sense. We should insert taxes on all foreign oil imported. That would raise your money for renewable resources. But what we are doing here today is taxing our domestic oil. We are raising dollars supposedly for renewable resources, yet we are still burning fossil fuels.
Reference: Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation(CLEAN);
Bill HR 6 ("First 100 hours")
; vote number 2007-040
on Jan 18, 2007
Voted YES on keeping moratorium on drilling for oil offshore.
Vote to amend a bill providing for exploration & production of mineral resources on the outer Continental Shelf. The underlying bill revises the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act's guidelines for natural gas lease administration. Voting YES on the amendment would maintain the 25-year moratorium on oil and gas drilling in environmentally sensitive areas offshore. Voting NO on the amendment would lift the 25-year moratorium, and establish incentives to renegotiate existing leases that fail to include market-based price caps.
Proponents support voting YES because:
This amendment would preserve the longstanding moratorium so important to coastal States. The amendment would also preserve the underlying bill's one redeeming feature, the renegotiating of the cash-cow leases now pouring billions of dollars into already stuffed oil industry coffers.
We have only 5% of the world's population, but 30% of the world's automobiles, and we produce 45% of the world's automotive carbon
dioxide emissions. This addiction harms our environment, our economy and our national security. This underlying bill attempts to bribe coastal States into drilling off their shores by promising them a lot more money.
Opponents support voting NO because:
For 30 years, opponents of American energy have cloaked their arguments in an environmental apocalypse. They have tried to make the argument that no matter what we do, it will destroy the environment.
This amendment takes out all of the energy production. It is a callous disregard for the jobs that have been lost over the last 30 years of following an anti-energy policy. The people who work in oil and gas, their jobs are in the Middle East or Canada. We have exported their jobs. If this amendment passes, we are going to send the rest of them. We should know how important it is to create jobs in this country, to create clean natural gas in this country, so that it can be the bridge to the future.
Reference: Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act;
Bill H R 4761
; vote number 2006-354
on Jun 29, 2006
Voted NO on scheduling permitting for new oil refinieries.
Voting YES would allow floor debate on H.R.5254, the Refinery Permit Process Schedule Act, which provides for the following:
- The EPA, upon the request of a state governor, shall provide scheduling and financial assistance relevant to consideration of federal refinery authorizations.
- The President shall designate at least three closed military installations as potentially suitable for the construction of a refinery.
- Requires that at least one such site be designated as potentially suitable for construction of a refinery to refine biomass in order to produce biofuel.
Proponents of the resolution say:
- Over the last several years, we have seen gasoline prices increase steadily
- In the last 24 years, our refinery capacity has dropped from 19 million barrels a day to less than 17 million barrels a day.
- We must make build new refineries to meet our current demand and to prevent a loss of capacity due to another hurricane, or a terrorist attack
Opponents of the resolution say:
Reference: Refinery Permit Process Schedule Act;
Bill HR 5254 resolution H RES 842
; vote number 2006-228
on Jun 7, 2006
- $3 a gallon gas is a problem, but so is global warming, and so is our dependence on fossil fuels.
- Unfortunately, this bill represents another missed opportunity for strategic long-term national energy policy.
- There have been no new refineries built in the US since 1976, but there has not been one convincing example of a situation where the permitting process prevented construction of a refinery.
- We should reduce demand by promoting energy conservation and fuel efficient forms of transportation, and work to develop renewable sources of fuel.
- Taken together, these will help America move towards energy independence. And we are going to stop providing subsidies to companies that are making record profits.
Voted NO on authorizing construction of new oil refineries.
To expedite the construction of new refining capacity in the United States, to provide reliable and affordable energy for the American people, and for other purposes including:
Reference: Gasoline for Americas Security Act;
Bill HR 3893
; vote number 2005-519
on Oct 7, 2005
- Authorizing the President to designate sites on Federal land for construction of new oil refineries, including at least three on closed military bases
- Allowing the Secretary of Energy to enter into contracts with non-Federal entities to construct or restore new refineries that use crude oil or coal to produce gasoline or other fuel
- Establishing a program to encourage carpools by giving grants to states and to evaluate the use of the Internet to link riders with carpools, assist employers establish carpool programs, and market existing programs
- Authorizing any facility to use biomass debris as fuel if it meets certain standards, such as resulting from a major disaster
- $2.5 million to create an education campaign about gasoline conservation
Voted NO on passage of the Bush Administration national energy policy.
Vote to pass a bill that would put into practice a comprehensive national policy for energy conservation, research and development. The bill would authorize o $25.7 billion tax break over a 10-year period. The tax breaks would include $11.9 billion to promote oil and gas production, $2.5 billion for "clean coal" programs, $2.2 billion in incentives for alternative motor vehicles, and $1.8 billion for the electric power industry and other businesses. A natural gas pipeline from Alaska would be authorized an $18 billion loan guarantee. It would add to the requirement that gasoline sold in the United States contain a specified volume of ethanol. Makers of the gasoline additive MTBE would be protected from liability. They would be required though to cease production of the additive by 2015. Reliability standards would be imposed for electricity transmissions networks, through this bill. The bill would also ease the restrictions on utility ownership and mergers.
Reference: Energy Policy Act of 2004;
Bill HR 4503
; vote number 2004-241
on Jun 15, 2004
Voted NO on implementing Bush-Cheney national energy policy.
Energy Omnibus bill: Vote to adopt the conference report on the bill that would put into practice a comprehensive national policy for energy conservation, research and development. The bill would authorize a $25.7 billion tax break over a 10-year period. The tax breaks would include $11.9 billion to promote oil and gas production, $2.5 billion for "clean coal" programs, $2.2 billion in incentives for alternative motor vehicles, and $1.8 billion for the electric power industry and other businesses. A natural gas pipeline from Alaska would be authorized an $18 billion loan guarantee. The bill would call for producers of Ethanol to double their output. Makers of the gasoline additive MTBE would be protected from liability. They would be required though to cease production of the additive by 2015. Reliability standards would be imposed for electricity transmissions networks, through this bill. The bill would also ease the restrictions on utility ownership and mergers.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Tauzin, R-LA;
; vote number 2003-630
on Nov 18, 2003
Voted YES on raising CAFE standards; incentives for alternative fuels.
Require a combined corporate average fuel efficiency [CAFE] standard for passenger automobiles and light trucks, including sport utility vehicles, of 26 mpg in 2005 and of 27.5 mpg in 2007. It also would offer incentives for alternative fuel vehicles.
Bill HR 4
; vote number 2001-311
on Aug 1, 2001
Voted YES on prohibiting oil drilling & development in ANWR.
Amendment to maintain the current prohibition on oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by striking language opening the reserve up to development.
Bill HR 4
; vote number 2001-317
on Aug 1, 2001
Voted YES on starting implementation of Kyoto Protocol.
Vote on an amendment that would allow the implementation of the portions of the Kyoto climate change treaty that are already allowed under law. The Kyoto protocol of 1997, which aims to reduce emissions of certain greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, has not been ratified by the United States. The amendment would allow federal agencies, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] to implement procedures already allowed under law that are also part of the Kyoto accord before the treaty is ratified by Congress.
Reference: Amendment sponsored by Olver, D-MA;
Bill HR 4690
; vote number 2000-323
on Jun 26, 2000
Regulate wholesale electricity & gas prices.
Wexler adopted the Progressive Caucus Position Paper:
The ProblemEscalating energy costs have almost no correlation with supply and demand. Adequate capacity to supply our current energy needs is and has always been plentiful within the energy markets. Newly formed deregulated energy companies are creating an artificial shortage and reaping tremendous profits while doing so.
The Progressive Caucus Solution: Wholesale Cost-based Pricing with RefundsIn the 1930s, wholesale electricity prices and wholesale natural gas prices were regulated, and the regulations provided for refunds if unjust or unreasonable rates were found. Since the late 1970s, these laws have been methodically dismantled leaving little federal price regulations to protect consumers. However, energy prices are easily manipulated as production and delivery systems are complex. Cost-based rates for wholesale electricity, natural gas, heating oil should be established to protect consumers from unjust and unfair prices. Cost based rates allow utilities to
recover the cost of their investment and operations while also allowing a reasonable profit. This is not a price capó FERC sets prices based on a specific, professional rationale. Establishing cost-based rates ensure adequate supply is available and removes the profit incentive from shorting the market. The rates should be set retroactively to the beginning of 2000. Refunds will be issued to families and businesses who have racked up incredible debt in 2000 and 2001, paying the unreasonable and unjust charges that the energy producers, generators and wholesalers inflicted.
Source: Progressive Caucus' Consumer Energy Rate Relief Act 01-CPC1 on Mar 16, 2001
The Progressive Caucus advocates:
- Implement wholesale cost-based pricing of electricity & natural gas to ensure consumers are not gouged. Require refunds when necessary.
- Grant FERC new powers to regulate heating oil prices at the wholesale level. Cost-based pricing of heating oil will ensure consumers are protected from heating oil price spikes.
Preserve Alaska's ANWR instead of drilling it.
Wexler co-sponsored the Morris K. Udall Arctic Wilderness Act:
Title: To preserve the Arctic coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, as wilderness in recognition of its extraordinary natural ecosystems and for the permanent good of present and future generations of Americans.
Summary: Designates specified lands within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness and components of the National Wilderness Preservation System [which would preclude oil exploration and drilling].
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR770 on Feb 28, 2001
Establish greenhouse gas tradeable allowances.
Wexler 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
Rated 100% by the CAF, indicating support for energy independence.
Wexler scores 100% by CAF on energy issues
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 CAF scores as follows:
About the CAF (from their website, www.ourfuture.org):
- 0% - 30%: opposition of energy independence (approx. 206 members)
- 30% - 70%: mixed record on energy independence (approx. 77 members)
- 70%-100%: support for energy independence (approx. 183 members)
The Campaign for America's Future (CAF) is a center for ideas and action that works to build an enduring majority for progressive change. The Campaign advances a progressive economic agenda and a vision of the future that works for the many, not simply the few. The Campaign is leading the fight for America's priorities--against privatization of Social Security, for investment in energy independence, good jobs and a sustainable economy, for an ethical and accountable Congress and for high quality public education.
About the CAF report, "Energy Independence: Record vs. Rhetoric":
Energy independence has surfaced as a defining issue in the current elections. Are most candidates and both parties truly committed? To help distinguish the demonstrated level of support for homegrown, clean energy alternatives, we examined the voting records of current U.S. Representatives and Senators on bills vital to promoting those interests. Key pieces of legislation included goals for independence, and subsidies for the development of alternatives compared to subsidies for drilling and digging. We then compared votes on these issues with campaign contributions from major oil interests. The results show strong inverse correlations between political contributions from big oil and votes for energy independence.
Source: CAF "Energy Independence" Report 06n-CAF on Dec 31, 2006
Sign on to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Wexler co-sponsored signing on to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
Source: S.RES.30/H.CON.RES.104 07-SR30 on Jan 16, 2007
- Whereas there is a scientific consensus that the continued buildup of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the atmosphere threatens the stability of the global climate;
- Whereas there are significant long-term risks to the economy and the environment of the US from the temperature increases and climatic disruptions that are projected to result from increased greenhouse gas concentrations;
- Whereas the US has the largest economy in the world and is also the largest emitter of greenhouse gases;
- Whereas reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the levels necessary to avoid serious climatic disruption requires the introduction of new energy technologies and other climate-friendly technologies;
- Whereas the development and sale of climate-friendly technologies in the US and internationally present economic opportunities for workers and businesses in the United States;
- Whereas President Bush, in the State of the Union Address given in
January 2006, called on the US to reduce its 'addiction' to oil and focus its attention on developing cleaner, renewable, and sustainable energy sources;
- Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that the United States should act to reduce the health, environmental, economic, and national security risks posed by global climate change and foster sustained economic growth through a new generation of technologies
- by participating in negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and leading efforts in other international fora,
- with the objective of securing United States participation in binding agreements that establish mitigation commitments by all countries that are major emitters of greenhouse gases;
- establish flexible international mechanisms to minimize the cost of efforts by participating countries; and
- achieve a significant long-term reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.
Let states define stricter-than-federal emission standards.
Wexler co-sponsored allowing states to define stricter emission standards
A bill to permit California and other States to effectively control greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, and for other purposes. Amends the Clean Air Act to approve the application of the state of California for a waiver of federal preemption of its motor vehicle emission standards.
Source: Reducing Global Warming from Vehicles Act (S.2555&H.R.5560) 2008-S2555 on Jan 24, 2008
Page last updated: Mar 15, 2012