Joseph Lieberman on Energy & Oil

Democratic Jr Senator (CT, retiring 2012), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004


Conceded that his cap-and-trade bill would cost $100B

The Lieberman-Warner cap and trade bill in December 2007 was the 1st time a cap and trade bill ever made it through the Environment and Public Works Committee.

A nonpartisan analysis of the bill revealed it would result in $4 trillion to $6 trillion in welfare costs over 40 years and up to $1 trillion per year by 2050. Even the co-author of the bill, Senator Lieberman, conceded that his bill would cost "hundreds of billions of dollars."

I carried around a memo with 4 themes based solely on economics. They were taxes, jobs, gas prices, and nuclear power. The themes quickly got the attention of the American people and my fellow Republican colleagues, setting the stage for the economic debate.

The news hit them hard: "Government studies confirm this bill will only raise gas prices"; "$6.7 trillion in the form of higher gas and electricity bills"; "4 million jobs lost by 2030 according to the National Association of Manufacturers." The economic impacts of the bill drove the debate.

Source: The Greatest Hoax, by James Inhofe, p. 99-101 , Feb 28, 2012

50% Excess Profits Tax on oil companies’ undeserved profit

Q: Energy cost increases averaged 6.3% in the Northeast this season. What should we do?

LIEBERMAN: This is an outrage. People are being cheated. Last December, in the midst of the heating oil season, I submitted legislation that would impose a 50% Excess Profits Tax on oil companies for really undeserved profits and return that money to low- and middle-income consumers to help them pay bills.

SCHLESINGER: With all due respect, Joe, been there, done that. The last time we did, interest rates was to 14%, you couldn’t get a mortgage, oil prices skyrocketed, and it just didn’t work. Pres. Reagan repealed that Excess Profits Tax, and immediately oil prices fell to a 20-year low, and stayed therefore about 20 years. So that’s not the solution.

LAMONT: Front and center to deal with energy prices is that we’ve got to deal with our dependence on oil, with incentives and conservation to allow that to happen.

Source: CT 2006 Debate with Al Terzi, moderator , Oct 19, 2006

Energy Bill included incentives for conservation

Q: Let’s talk about the Energy Bill.

LAMONT: Dick Cheney invited 100 of his favorite energy CEOs and lobbyists behind closed doors, and they passed the Energy Bill. It provided billions of dollars in subsidies to Exxon-Mobil. Sen. Lieberman was one of the only New England Senators to sign onto that bill. It was a bad bill.

SCHLESINGER: I can’t believe this, Ned, I finally agree with you on something. But I would have voted against that bill for entirely different reasons, because it would have developed a 3-mile platform in the middle of Long Island Sound as a fuel depot for natural gas. We can’t have it, and that vetoed the bill for me.

LIEBERMAN: The Energy Bill last year was criticized for one part. But it has the most substantial incentives for energy conservation and alternative energy that Congress has ever adopted.

LAMONT: For Sen. Lieberman to sign onto that bill, we lost that opportunity to put in efficiency standards, and to put together a comprehensive energy plan.

Source: CT 2006 Debate with Al Terzi, moderator (X-ref Schlesinger) , Oct 19, 2006

Set America Free Act: reduce oil from unstable countries

Q: What should we do about energy needs in the long run?

LIEBERMAN: In the long run we’ve got to break our dependence on foreign oil from countries that are unstable or hostile to us. I’m now co-sponsoring a bill called Set America Free, which will reduce our consumption of oil by 10 million barrels a day. It would develop an American biofuels refinery and distribution network.

SCHLESINGER: We have to accept the fact that we’re moving from fossil fuel to eventually solar, we’re in a probably 30 or 40 year transition process. We have to put incentives into alternative fuel sources. I call it my Declaration of Energy Independence. And we have a two-tiered process for oil company profits: One for fossil fuels, which is a higher tax, and one for alternatives. That way you direct the funds where they’re needed and you get results.

LIEBERMAN: There’s been no greater failure of leadership in our government over the last 30 years than our failure to do something about our dependence on foreign oil

Source: CT 2006 Debate with Al Terzi, moderator , Oct 19, 2006

Cheney energy bill was imperfect but good for CT

LAMONT: Sen. Lieberman’s support of the Dick Cheney “no lobbyist left behind” energy bill was a mistake.

LIEBERMAN : There you go again. You’ve been spending your money on commercials to criticize me for voting for that energy bill. Look, very rarely do you get a perfect bill. The tax credits for the energy industry in that big energy bill last year were bad. I said so. I am co-sponsoring legislation to try and repeal them. They were wrong. But I’ll tell you why I voted for the bill. But there were other parts of it that will save Connecticut electricity customers $800 million. Would you have voted against that? The other thing that it did is had the most substantial incentives for clean fuel, alternative fuel and fuel cells, which can create thousands of new jobs in the fuel cell industry in Connecticut, and I hope you would not have voted against that. But most of all, we’ve got to get energy independent.

Source: 2006 Connecticut Democratic Senate Primary debate , Jul 6, 2006

Raise CAFE standard from 27.5 mpg to 40, including SUVs

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

A: My ‘Declaration of Energy Independence’ calls for CAFE standards to be set at a level that will save 2 million barrels of oil per day by 2015. According to estimates provided during last year’s energy debate, this would require CAFE standards to be raised to 40 miles per gallon. In addition, the fuel efficiency standards should apply to SUVs as well as to passenger automobiles.

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

Support Alaskan Natural Gas Pipeline; opposes drilling ANWR

Q: What is your stance on the Alaskan Natural Gas Pipeline and ANWR? Is there a substantial need to develop new energy sources?

A: Leading America to energy independence in an important national goal and I have a full plan for doing that which you can find on my Web site www.joe2004.com. In specific response, I have long opposed [drilling for oil in] ANWR and do support the Alaskan Natural Gas Pipeline.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A , Nov 3, 2003

Accept some American responsibility for global warming

Q: What would you do as president to move ahead with an effective and internationally acceptable policy response to address global climate change?

A: John McCain and I were very pleased by the 44 votes we got for the anti-global warming legislation. The Bush administration and more conservative business interests fought hard against our Climate Stewardship Act. Our proposal is a moderate first step toward accepting some American responsibility for global warming.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A , Nov 3, 2003

Declaration of Energy Independence

The OPEC decision to cut the supply of oil shows that even George Bush’s buddies in OPEC have lost confidence in his economic plans, because they based that cut in supply on a projected cut and demand because they see America in a jobless recovery. It’s going to take a Democratic president to begin to create jobs again. One of the ways we’re going to do it with a declaration of real energy independence, so no matter how strong we are, we can’t have our strength be compromised by the countries in OPEC.
Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan , Sep 25, 2003

Raise mileage standard to 40 mpg

I am for increasing the average fuel efficiency of our vehicles to 40 miles a gallon. That’s critical. I’m for investing billions of dollars in creating new, alternative renewable energy technologies and giving tax credits to people who buy them. We can get together and make ourselves energy-independent and stronger economically.
Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan , Sep 25, 2003

Destroying pristine ANWR not worth 6 months of oil

CHENEY [to Lieberman]: We support the moratorium on drilling off the coast of California, but there are places where we ought to develop those resources. The Arctic National Wildlife Reserve is one of them. It’s right next to Prudhoe Bay. The infrastructure is there to be able to deliver that product to market. We think we can do it, given today’s technology, in a way that will not damage the environment, will not permanently mar the countryside at all. We’re looking for balance with respect to environmental policy and energy policy.

LIEBERMAN: I’m against drilling in the Arctic refuge. This is one of the most beautiful, pristine places that the good Lord has created on Earth. It’s just not worth it to do that for what seems to be the possibility of six months worth of oil 7 to 12 years from now. That’s not much of a response to the immediate problem that gasoline consumers & home heating oil customers are facing this winter. There are more resources within the US that we can develop.

Source: Vice-presidential debate , Oct 5, 2000

Save 3 mpg and we conserve same as drilling Alaska

In the last eight years, drilling for gas on federal lands has gone up 60%, and it’s been done in an environmentally protective way. But the answer [for oil shortages] is new technology. If we can get three miles more per gallon from our cars, we’ll get a million--we’ll save a million barrels of oil a day, which is exactly what the Alaskan refuge would produce. The choice to me is clear. We’ve got to develop fuel cells, alternative energy. We’ve got to encourage people to conserve and to be efficient.
Source: Vice-presidential debate , Oct 5, 2000

Incentives for business to reduce greenhouse emissions

The US should be a world leader in tempering global climate change through a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Lieberman supports the Credit for Voluntary Reductions Act, which establishes new incentives to encourage businesses to make investments that improve efficiency and reduce pollution. He also pushed for funding for clean energy programs and stridently opposed efforts to attach anti-environmental riders to spending bills.
Source: Senate web site, “Issue Focus: Environment” , Aug 7, 2000

Kyoto Protocol should include China

On environmental issues, Lieberman supported the Clinton position at the Kyoto air pollution conference but said China has to be part of the solution. He co-sponored the Clean Air Act of 1990 and supports an EPA project to allow companies greater flexibility to achieve specific pollution control goals.
Source: Almanac of American Politics 2000 (Barone & Ujifusa) , Jan 1, 2000

Clean Energy: deregulate electricity & reduce pollutants

The Clean Energy Act would slash air pollution from older polluting power plants, maintain and increase investments in clean energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. The Clean Energy Act ends the pollution exemption for old power plants currently grandfathered in under the Clean Air Act. It would reduce emissions of the full range of pollutants that damage human health and the global environment. It requires increased investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, and it gives consumers the information and ability to choose clean sources of power in a deregulated marketplace. “Electricity deregulation carries the promise of enormous benefits for the consumer - mainly in reduced electric bills - which I strongly support,” Lieberman said. “But deregulation can also cause adverse environmental and public health consequences if we don’t do it right.
Source: Press Release, “Clean Energy Act” , Jul 14, 1999

Climate change is bilingual, for business & for enviros

The threat of climate change is not an abstraction or the object of a science fiction writer’s overactive imagination; it is, unfortunately, all too real. The research shows convincingly that global warming is on the rise, and with it the likelihood that the world will be put at risk in our children’s lifetime. We have all unfortunately done too little to attack the underlying problem, the escalating emissions of greenhouse gases, which threaten our health, our safety, and our homes.

[My] proposed legislation is not just bipartisan but bilingual, speaking in terms that we hope that the combatants on both sides of the global warming wars can understand and embrace. Already its inventive, market-oriented approach has managed to bring together key segments of the business community and the environmental movement. This bill will begin to break the logjam, spurring the nation’s energy, agriculture and forestry industries to begin taking tangible steps to limit the accumulation of greenhouse gases.

Source: Senate statement, “Early Action” , Mar 4, 1999

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

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.