Marco Rubio on Energy & Oil
Republican Florida Senator
RUBIO: Climate & sea level rise, these are measurable things. So it's not even a scientific debate. At some point, it's just a reality debate. You can measure whether sea levels are higher than they used to be, warmer than used to be and the like. As a policymaker, the fundamental question is, what can we do about it? And if, in fact, humans are contributing to that, what public policy can we pursue that does not destroy your economy and can be effective.
Q: Are there are mitigation efforts you can take with greenhouse gases?
RUBIO: The increases come from the developing world and in other places. We're not a planet, we're a country. The debate has not been always about whether or not it's human contribution. It's about whether the public policies that are being advocated would be effective, in light of the fact that in other places carbon emissions continue to grow.
RUBIO: I would say that that's not true. We are. We have funded this study in Congress to better understand sea level rise and changes in the climate, those are measurable. From a policy-maker [perspective], the question is, what policies can we change to deal with that human activity? If you look at U.S. today, we're cleaner than we used to be. Natural gas is a clean source. Nuclear energy is very clean. But you have to fight the same people to approve of that.
RUBIO: We're cleaner than we used to be. Natural gas is a clean source. Nuclear energy is very clean. But no matter what we do with laws--if, tomorrow, let's say we went to all solar panels and did all that stuff, which is not realistic, this trend [of rising sea levels] would still continue. And so we're going to have to do something about the impact that it's having on low-level coastal areas. And that means mitigation, hardening--how we manage water. We have been working on that very hard and continue to, strategies to mitigate against those factors that are going to be in place no matter what happens with our energy policy. But I'm also not going to destroy our economy. There's a reality here and there's a balance on that end of it that we need to be focused on.
RUBIO: Because we're not going to destroy our economy. We are not going to make America a harder place to create jobs in order to pursue policies that will do absolutely nothing: nothing to change our climate, to change our weather. So the bottom line is, I am not in favor of any policies that make America a harder place for people to live, or to work, or to raise their families.
Q: So would you call yourself a skeptic of climate change?
RUBIO: You can measure the climate. That's not the issue we're discussing. Here is what I'm skeptical of. I'm skeptical of the decisions that the left wants us to make. They will not do a thing to lower the rise of the sea. But what they will do is they will make America a more expensive place to create jobs.
After receiving backlash for his remarks, Rubio sought in another interview to clarify his position: "I've never disputed that the climate is changing, and I've pointed out that climate to some extent is always changing, it's never static," Rubio said. "There are things that we can do to become more efficient in our use of energies, there are things we can do to develop alternative sources of energy."
Rubio defended those remarks during a third interview: "I think the scientific certainty that some claimed isn't necessarily there," he said.
RUBIO: I don't agree with the notion that somehow there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what's happening in our climate. Our climate is always changing. And what they have chosen to do is take a handful of decades of research and say that this is now evidence of a longer-term trend that's directly and almost solely attributable to manmade activity, I do not agree with that.
Q: You don't buy it?
RUBIO: I don't know of any era in world history where the climate has been stable. Climate is always evolving, & natural disasters have always existed.
Q: You do not think that human activity, its production of CO2, has caused warming to our planet?
RUBIO: I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it. And I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it. Except it will destroy our economy.
When we point out that no matter how many job-killing laws we pass, our government can't control the weather--he accuses us of wanting dirty water and dirty air.
When we suggest we strengthen our safety net programs by giving states more flexibility to manage them--he accuses us of wanting to leave the elderly and disabled to fend for themselves.
And tonight, he even criticized us for refusing to raise taxes to delay military cuts--cuts that were his idea in the first place. But his favorite attack of all is that those who don't agree with him--they only care about rich people.
[During the Senate primary], Crist falsely claimed I had supported cap and trade. He cited an interview in which I made the assumption that some form of cap and trade would eventually become national law. I suggested that Florida should prepare for the inevitable by adopting a policy of its own. But I didn't support cap and trade. I wrote an opinion piece denouncing the governor's executive orders shortly after he announced them.
Florida should implement a voluntary statewide incentive program for energy efficiency. Florida should explore incentives for homes that pledge to meet the FGBS or similar standards. Increasing the energy efficiency of new homes will save homeowners money and will reduce the need for costly new electric generating facilities.
Florida should create an Energy Efficiency Fund to offer loans to public schools, public hospitals, cities, counties, special districts, and public care institutions. Eligible projects are those with proven energy savings, such as lighting and HVAC efficiency improvements.
Solar energy & biofuels appear to be especially promising alternative energy sources for Florida. Florida has obvious advantages in the area of solar energy and is also pursuing the productio of ethanol. Recent scientific developments and expected future developments could greatly expand the types of feedstock available to produce ethanol at a lower cost than that of either corn or sugar. Thanks to past initiatives, Florida also appears to have achieved a leadership position in the development of hydrogen power. Clean, safe nuclear energy is another promising option to diversify Florida's energy portfolio. Other promising areas include waste-to-energy conversion and wind and water power.
Solution: Offer incentives to encourage purchases of hybrid vehicles.
Many states, Florida included, passed legislation to help consumers offset the initial price of purchasing a hybrid vehicle. And like other states, Florida currently offers hybrid vehicle owners a commuting advantage. Hybrid drivers are allowed to drive in the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane at any time, regardless of their vehicle occupancy.
Florida should offer free and/or discounted parking and free or reduced tolls on Florida's toll roads for high fuel efficiency vehicles. The idea would be fairly easy to implement--hybrid vehicle owners could simply obtain a special E-PASS allowing hybrid vehicles to pass through tolls at a free or discounted rate. Additionally, Florida should provide tax incentives for all clean alternative-fueled vehicles and hybrid passenger vehicles that get at least 40 miles per gallon on the highway.
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
No Climate Tax Pledge: "I pledge to the taxpayers of my state, and to the American people, that I will oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue."
Sponsoring organizations: Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEU); National Taxpayers Union (NTU); Institute for Liberty Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual's right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans.
The Contract from America, clause 2. Reject Cap & Trade:
Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation's global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures.
The Contract from America, clause 8. Pass an 'All-of-the-Above' Energy Policy:
Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers, [to keep energy prices low].
Faith2Action.org is "the nation's largest network of pro-family groups." They provide election resources for each state, including Voter Guides and Congressional Scorecards excerpted here. The Faith2Action survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Passage of Cap-and-Trade Energy Legislation'
Congressional Summary:Authorizes a state to establish a program covering the leasing and permitting processes, regulatory requirements, and any other provisions by which the state would exercise its rights to develop all forms of energy resources on available federal land in the state.
Proponent's argument for bill: (The Heritage Foundation): This important piece of legislation would allow state control of energy resources on federal lands. America has harnessed technological advances in recent years in drilling and extracting energy resources that have caused a surge in domestic oil and gas in several areas of the country. Most of that production has occurred on private and state-owned lands, not federal lands where output has been on decline. The benefits of transferring power to the states over their own energy decisions: States have an interest in both boosting their economies by tapping into the energy resources available to them and protecting the environment. More importantly, they are best suited to fulfill these two goals, not the federal government.
Opponent's argument against bill:(The Wilderness Society): Oil and gas development can do serious damage to wildlands and waters, especially when it takes place in sensitive areas. The federal government began leasing public lands for energy development in 1920. We see energy development as a valid use of some public lands, but there are some wild places that must be protected. We work to ensure that the most stringent environmental precautions are applied when oil and gas development occurs on our public lands and that development does not happen in fragile wild areas. The Wilderness Society also makes sure that our most ecologically sensitive areas, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, remain permanently off limits to oil and gas companies.
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Senate races 2017-8:
AZ: Flake(R) vs. Ward(R) vs.Sinema(D) vs.Abboud(D) vs.McSally(R) vs.Arpaio(R) vs.Marks(L)
CA: Feinstein(D) vs. Eisen(I) vs. Sanchez?(D) vs.de_Leon(D)
CT: Murphy(D) vs.Adams(D) vs.Corey(R)
DE: Carper(D) vs.Arlett(R) vs.Truono(R) vs.
FL: Nelson(D) vs.
HI: Hirono(D) vs.Curtis(R) vs.
IN: Donnelly(D) vs.
MA: Warren(D) vs. Ayyadurai(I) vs.
MD: Cardin(D) vs.Campbell(R) vs.Vohra(L) vs.
ME: King(I) vs.Brakey(R) vs.Ringelstein(D) vs.Lyons(L)
MI: Stabenow(D) vs.
MN-6: Klobuchar(D) vs.Newberger(R) vs.Overby(G)
MO: McCaskill(D) vs.Petersen(R) vs.Petersen(R) vs.Monetti(R) vs.Hawley(R)
MS-2: vs.Hyde-Smith(R) vs. McDaniel(R) vs.Espy(D) vs.
MS-6: Wicker(R) vs.Baria(D) vs.
MT: Tester(D) vs.Olszewski(R) vs.Rosendale(R)
ND: Heitkamp(D) vs.Peyer(D) vs.Cramer(R) vs.
NE: Fischer(R) vs.Raybould(D)
NJ: Menendez(D) vs.
NM: Heinrich(D) vs.Rich(R) vs.Johnson(L)
NV: Heller(R) vs.
NY: Gillibrand(D) vs.
OH: Brown(D) vs.
PA: Casey(D) vs.
RI: Whitehouse(D) vs.
TN: Corker(R) vs.Bredesen(D) vs.
TX: Cruz(R) vs.
UT: Hatch(R) vs.
VA: Kaine(D) vs.
VT: Sanders(I) vs.Milne(D) vs.MacGovern(D) vs.Paige(R) vs.Zupan(R)
WA: Cantwell(D) vs.Hutchison(R) vs.Ferguson(D) vs.Luke(L) vs.Strider(L)
WI: Baldwin(D) vs.Vukmir(R)
WV: Manchin(D) vs.
WY: Barrasso(R) vs.Trauner(D)
Senate Votes (analysis)