Sheldon Whitehouse on Energy & Oil

Democratic Jr Senator, previously attorney general


Replace oil lobby with entirely new energy strategy

Q: What should be done to control fuel prices in the short term and long term?

A: In America, we need an entirely new energy strategy. Our present energy strategy is being dictated to the Republicans by the oil companies, the gas companies, and the coal companies -- by the big energy lobby. And it is bad for our country. It is bad for our country from a national security point of view. It is bad for our country from a environmental point of view. It is bad for our country from an economic point of view. We need a new energy strategy that relies on innovation in America to develop new technologies that are safer environmentally, that relieve us from our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, and that free our economy from oil shocks. A new strategy can harness American innovation, to bring the jobs for a new energy economy into this country, which will do us a world of good, literally as a matter of national urgency.

Source: 2006 RI Senate debate, by RIBA and WPRI-12 , Sep 13, 2006

Push for tougher CAFE standards

Q: What would you do as a US Senator to stimulate the renewable energy industries and to encourage American innovation in the field of renewable energy technologies?

A: As a nation, we must cut our dependence on foreign oil and preserve our environment with a commitment to energy independence by 2020. I will push for tougher CAFE standards, increased federal investment in developing renewable energy sources, and greater incentives for Americans to use clean energy technologies.

Source: RIfuture.org blog , Sep 12, 2006

New technologies for environmentally-friendly energy

With gas prices soaring, Whitehouse called for a new national commitment to energy independence. “We must stop relying on foreign oil and find ways to use new technologies to create more efficient, environmentally-friendly energy,” Whitehouse said. “George Bush and the Republicans in Congress are working to enrich the big oil and gas companies at the expense of each and every American. I’m running for Senate because Rhode Islanders need someone to stand up for them.”
Source: Press Release, “High Gas Prices” , Apr 28, 2006

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.