Richard Durbin on Energy & Oil

Democratic Sr Senator (IL)


Empower the EPA to regulate greenhouse emissions

If we want to avoid the most disastrous effects of climate change, we must rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We need to empower the EPA to regulate emissions. We must invest in alternative fuels. We should help transition to a clean energy, carbon neutral future by putting a price on carbon. I've introduced America's Clean Future Fund Act, which would raise a carbon tax and invest the revenues in clean energy development, transition assistance for workers.
Source: ScienceDebate.org on 2020 Illinois Senate race , Nov 3, 2020

Energy tax to fund infrastructure investment

Q: Are other taxes that you believe that you can raise?

DURBIN: We need to open our minds to our tax revenue. We've had conversations about an infrastructure fund that will really start America building again, for the highways and airports and locks and dams.

Q: How do you fund that? It's already funded by gas taxes, right? You want to raise the federal gas tax?

DURBIN: I believe we should have energy taxes that really fund infrastructure investment.

Q: On who?

DURBIN: It's going to create jobs in America. On the gas tax: now is not the moment to raise it, but it really is something we should consider in the future. But there are other sources of energy taxes we ought to consider. I'll give you an example, the electric power grid in America is ancient. If we are going to expand it so that it can meet the needs of the 21st Century, we need an investment. That means revenue coming in from that sector. I think they would be open to it if the investment went back into the infrastructure

Source: CNN SOTU 2013 interview on 2014 Illinois Senate race , Jan 6, 2013

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 NO on protecting middle-income taxpayers from a national energy tax.