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John Garamendi on Energy & Oil

 

 


Authored solar, wind and energy conservation tax credit law

Source: 2010 House campaign website, www.garamendi.org, "Issues" , Nov 3, 2009

Principle negotiator for the Kyoto Protocol

I was a principle United States negotiator for the Kyoto Protocol, and I am well aware that our response to global climate change must be international and must ultimately include India, China, and other developing nations. Terrorism, greenhouse gases, and air and water pollutants share at least one thing in common: they don't respect national borders.
Source: 2010 House campaign website, www.garamendi.org, "Issues" , Nov 3, 2009

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

Extend through 2016 the renewable energy tax credit.

Garamendi co-sponsored American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension

Congressional Summary:Amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend through 2016 the tax credit for electricity produced from wind, biomass, geothermal or solar energy, landfill gas, trash, hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy facilities.

Proponent's Comments (Governor's Wind Energy Coalition letter of Nov. 15, 2011 signed by 23 governors):Although the tax credit for wind energy has long enjoyed bipartisan support, it is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2012. Wind-related manufacturing is beginning to slow in our states because the credit has not yet been extended. If Congress pursues a last minute approach to the extension, the anticipated interruption of the credit's benefits will result in a significant loss of high-paying jobs in a growing sector of the economy. We strongly urge Congress to adopt a more consistent and longer-term federal tax policy to support wind energy development, such as H.R. 3307.

The leading wind project developers and manufacturers are slowing their plans for 2013 and beyond due to the current uncertainty. The ripple effect of this slow down means reduced orders for turbines and decreased business for the hundreds of manufacturers who have entered the wind industry in our states. When Congress allowed the tax credit to expire in 1999, 2001, and 2003, the development of new wind installations dropped significantly, between 73% and 93%, and thousands of jobs were lost. Providing renewable energy tax credits in order to provide consistency with conventional energy tax credits is the right policy to move the nation forward in an energy sector that offers global export opportunities and the ability to modernize a segment of our electric production infrastructure.

Source: H.R.3307 11-H3307 on Nov 2, 2011

$5 billion in tax credits for alternative energy projects.

Garamendi signed SEAM Act

Security in Energy and Manufacturing Act of 2011 or the SEAM Act of 2011 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to expand the qualifying advanced energy project credit by allocating in 2011 $5 billion of grants or tax credit amounts to manufacturers of goods and components (other than for assembly of components) in the US that are used in alternative energy projects.

[Explanatory note from americanprogress.org]:

The SEAM Act provides financial assistance to US manufacturing companies that want to retool their factories for the clean energy economy. By promoting growth of the manufacturing sector, this legislation has the potential to create badly needed jobs that can put Americans back to work.

The SEAM Act goes a step beyond just providing more funding. It amends the existing terms of the funding to increase its effectiveness. The new Manufacturing Tax Credit would prioritize funding for companies that provide supplies over those that assemble goods. Drawing this distinction helps target support for companies that need it most. There's another benefit to supporting supply companies over assembly companies. Both types of companies promote economic development, but workers in the supply chain, such as tool and die workers, welders, and machinists, are generally paid more than workers in the assembly chain.

In addition to being an effective tool for economic recovery, the SEAM Act provides an example of a well-designed tax expenditure. More than 60% of federal support for the energy industry is now delivered via "tax expenditures"--government spending programs that deliver subsidies through the tax code via special tax credits, deductions, exclusions, exemptions, and preferential rates--and a recent hearing in Congress indicates that this trend is likely to continue. Problem is, many of these tax expenditures are questionable at best.

Source: HR.724&S.591 11-HR0724 on Mar 15, 2011

Voted YES on banning offshore oil drilling in Gulf of Mexico.

Garamendi voted YEA Interior & Environment Agencies Appropriations

Congressional Summary: House amendment to H.R. 5538, the Interior & Environment Agencies Appropriations bill for FY 2017. This amendment would prohibit funds to be used to research, investigate, or study offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

Heritage Foundation recommends voting NO: (7/13/2016): The Gulf of Mexico continues to be a very important asset for our energy future and it continues to produce significant amounts of oil and natural gas. Yet the Eastern Gulf of Mexico has not participated to this point despite its significant potential. A 2014 Heritage Foundation report said: "Excessive regulations and bureaucratic inefficiencies have stymied oil production and prevented the full effects of the energy boom." This amendment would block any potential progress that could take place by preventing the necessary work that would need to be prepared in the East Gulf for potential lease sales and eventual production.

Sierra Club recommends voting YES: (1/12/1974): The Sierra Club believes that no offshore petroleum exploration should occur unless and until the following conditions are met:

Legislative outcome: Failed House 185 to 243 (no Senate vote).

Source: Congressional vote 16-H5538B on Jul 13, 2016

Federal collaboration for advanced nuclear technologies.

Garamendi signed collaborating for advanced nuclear technologies

Press Release from 5 Senators: The Senate today approved, 87-4, legislation that would facilitate advanced nuclear technologies, as part of the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA), S. 2461, which prioritizes partnering with private innovators on new reactor technologies and the testing and demonstration of reactor concepts.

Supporters arguments:

Opposing environmental argument: (Sierra Club FactSheet, "Why Nuclear Power Doesn't Make Sense"): As the disasters at Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima have shown, nuclear power can cause catastrophic damage to land & human health. We should pursue our cleanest, quickest, safest, and cheapest energy options first: Nuclear power comes out last in every one of those categories.

Opposing economic argument: (Cato Institute Commentary, "Risky Business"): Many free-market advocates support nuclear because it costs less to generate nuclear power than it does to generate electricity from any other source. However, someone has to first pay for--and build--these plants and the rub is that nuclear has very high, upfront construction costs ranging from $6-9 billion. By contrast, gas plants cost only a few hundred million dollars to build and coal a couple of billion. But the final nail in the coffin for the industry would be if the federal cap on the liability that nuclear power plant owners face in case of accidents (the Price-Anderson Act) were to be lifted.

Source: Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act 16-HR4084 on Jan 28, 2016

Green New Deal: 10-year national mobilization.

Garamendi co-sponsored the Resolution on Green New Deal

This resolution calls for the creation of a Green New Deal with the goals of:

The resolution calls for accomplishment of these goals through a 10-year national mobilization effort. The resolution also enumerates the goals and projects of the mobilization effort, including:
  • building smart power grids (i.e., power grids that enable customers to reduce their power use during peak demand periods);
  • upgrading all existing buildings and constructing new buildings to achieve maximum energy and water efficiency;
  • removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation and agricultural sectors;
  • cleaning up existing hazardous waste and abandoned sites;
  • ensuring businesspersons are free from unfair competition; and
  • providing higher education, high-quality health care, and affordable, safe, and adequate housing to all.

    Opposing argument from the Cato Institute, 2/24/2019: While reasonable people can disagree on some aspects of the Green New Deal's proposals, one fact is uncontroversial: the US cannot afford them. The Green New Deal would likely cost upwards of $6.6 trillion per year. The federal government should look for cheaper ways to address problems like climate change. Instead of the Green New Deal, the federal government could adopt a revenue??neutral carbon tax to decrease emissions without exacerbating the fiscal imbalance. Economists from across the political spectrum support carbon taxation as the most cost??effective way to address climate change. And a carbon tax would be most effective if uniformly adopted by other countries, too.

    Source: H.Res.109/S.Res.59 19-HR0109 on Feb 7, 2019

    Voted YES to assist rural electric renewable energy.

    Garamendi voted YEA Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act

    Congressional Summary:This bill requires the Department of Energy to award grants to assist rural electric cooperatives with identifying, evaluating, and designing energy storage and microgrid projects that rely on renewable energy. (A microgrid is a group of interconnected energy resources that acts as a single controllable entity and that can disconnect from the grid to operate in island mode.)

    SciPol statement in support: HR4447 would establish a microgrid grant and technical assistance program for rural electric cooperatives. Rural electric cooperatives are non-profit consumer-owned electric cooperatives that came into being in the 1930s to serve the needs of rural areas otherwise ignored by investor-owned (for-profit) utilities. Most rural electric power is still provided by rural electric co-ops.

    Trump's Statement of Administration Policy (against): HR 4447 would implement a top-down approach that undermines the Administration's deregulatory agenda. HR 4447 would lead to higher energy costs and discourage innovation. It would create a "green bank" that would subsidize projects similar to wellknown failures like Solyndra. Finally, HR 4447 would interfere with our own energy destiny free from the reins of the Paris Climate Accord and international organizations that ignore the clear lessons that have led to American energy independence.

    Common Dreams (against): Over 100 groups--including major environmental, climate and progressive organizations--oppose HR 4447. The heaviest burdens of the climate crisis fall on low-income communities and communities of color. "We applaud the environmental justice measures in this bill, but cannot support legislation that extends our country's reliance upon fossil fuels," said the Executive Director of the Progressive Democrats of America.

    Legislative outcome: Passed House 220-185-24, Roll #206 on Sep. 24, 2020.

    Source: Congressional vote 20-HR4447 on Sep 20, 2019

    2021-22 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Energy & Oil: John Garamendi on other issues:
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