Jeff Merkley on Energy & Oil

Democratic Jr Senator (OR)


Cap greenhouse gases with international collaboration

Q: Do you support caps on greenhouse gas emissions?

A: Yes. I support such caps. Although such caps are only one of numerous initiatives that we must launch related to global climate change. Tackling global climate change is a major theme in my campaign for the US Senate.

Q: Do you support U.S. participation in binding international climate agreements?

A: Yes. Global climate change is a huge issue. If the world continues on its current path of increased carbon loading of the atmosphere, the temperature of the planet could go up 5-9 degrees in just the next 50 years, with catastrophic consequences. Moving off of this path will require an unprecedented level of international collaboration and commitment.

Source: Citizens for Global Solutions: 2008 Senate questionnaire , Sep 9, 2008

Set a 25 percent renewable energy national standard by 2025

The first part of Jeff’s climate change plan is to make historic investments in renewable energy, which includes setting a 25 percent renewable energy national standard by 2025. We’ll get there by investing in clean energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-fuels. We’ll pay for it by closing tax loopholes for big oil companies. Jeff also strongly supports increasing the fuel economy standards for cars driven in the US to 35 miles per gallon.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

Invest in research for conservation, alternative energy

Jeff’s plan outlines an increase in efficiency for cooling, heating and lighting appliances by 25%. We must also have an investment in carbon capture storage systems which capture CO2 and store it in the ground at coal- and natural-gas-fired plants. We need to increase solar power by 700 times current capacity, and wind power by 50 times current capacity. New investments in bio-fuel research with an emphasis on cellulosic ethanol and crops that have a complete bio-fuel support cycle are necessary.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

Sustainable, renewable energy to combat global warming

Energy Independence and Conservation: This has been a banner year in Oregon for stewardship. Oregon has a long history and reputation as a national leader on environmental policy. Under Jeff’s leadership in the legislature, sustainability, renewable energy and recycling found new life after years of neglect. Jeff Merkley has developed a four part plan to combat global warming. As U.S. Senator for Oregon, Jeff will fight to get his plan implemented. Read more.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Mar 2, 2008

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.