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Paul Tonko on Energy & Oil

 

 


Green New Deal needs support through legislation

I came to Congress because we had no clear energy policy. I have long worked to change this and set us up to combat climate change. I believe the Green New Deal, written as a resolution, set the aspirational goals for our nation. Now, we must enact legislation that will become law, outlining the particular steps necessary to achieve those goals. We need both the big-picture, coalition building vision and the specifics, in law, to achieve said goals. The two approaches complement one another.
Source: ScienceDebate.org on 2020 Congressional NY-20 election , Oct 9, 2020

National carbon cap and trade program

When Bush took office in 2001, the average price of gas was $1.39 per gallon. Now at over $4.00 per gallon, gas prices are hurting middle class families. Paul is proposing a comprehensive plan to reduce the price of gasoline and fuel by; a national 65 mph speed limit, a national carbon cap and trade program, a national scrap and replace program, a national renewable portfolio standard, and acceleration of the corporate average fuel economy standards
Source: 2008 House campaign website, paultonkoforcongress2008.com , Nov 4, 2008

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

Voted YES on enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution.

Congressional Summary:Requires utilities to supply an increasing percentage of their demand from a combination of energy efficiency savings and renewable energy (6% in 2012, 9.5% in 2014, 13% in 2016, 16.5% in 2018, and 20% in 2021). Provides for:
  1. issuing, trading, and verifying renewable electricity credits; and
  2. prescribing standards to define and measure electricity savings from energy efficiency and energy conservation measures.
Amends the Clean Air Act (CAA) to set forth a national strategy to address barriers to the commercial-scale deployment of carbon capture and sequestration.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. ED MARKEY (D, MA-7): For the first time in the history of our country, we will put enforceable limits on global warming pollution. At its core, however, this is a jobs bill. It will create millions of new, clean-energy jobs in whole new industries with incentives to drive competition in the energy marketplace. It sets ambitious and achievable standards for energy efficiency and renewable energy from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass so that by 2020, 20% of America's energy will be clean.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BOB GOODLATTE (R, VA-6): I agree that this bill has very important consequences, but those consequences are devastating for the future of the economy of this country. It's a fantasy that this legislation will turn down the thermostat of the world by reducing CO2 gas emissions when China & India & other nations are pumping more CO2 gas into the atmosphere all the time. We would be far better served with legislation that devotes itself to developing new technologies before we slam the door on our traditional sources of energy like coal and oil and and nuclear power. We support the effort for energy efficiency. We do not support this kind of suicide for the American economy. Unfortunately, cap and trade legislation would only further cripple our economy.

Reference: American Clean Energy and Security Act; Bill H.R.2454 ; vote number 2009-H477 on Jun 26, 2009

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

Tonko 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.

Tonko 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

50% clean and carbon free electricity by 2030.

Tonko co-sponsored H.Res.637/S.Res.386

Expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should establish a national goal of more than 50 percent clean and carbon free electricity by 2030 for the purposes of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, growing our economy, increasing our shared prosperity, improving public health, and preserving our national security.

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should--
  1. Establish a national goal of more than 50 percent clean and carbon free electricity by 2030; and
  2. Enact legislation to accelerate the transition to clean energy to meet this goal.
Source: Resolution for 50% Carbon-Free Electricity by 2030 16-HRes637 on Mar 3, 2016

Voted YES to assist rural electric renewable energy.

Tonko 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: Paul Tonko on other issues:
NY Gubernatorial:
Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Giuliani
Andrew Yang
Bill de Blasio
Cynthia Nixon
Eric Adams
George Pataki
Howie Hawkins
Joe Pinion
John DeFrancisco
Kathy Hochul
Kirsten Gillibrand
Larry Sharpe
Lee Zeldin
Letitia James
Marc Molinaro
Mike Bloomberg
Rob Astorino
Shaun Donovan
Tom Suozzi
Zephyr Teachout
NY Senatorial:
Alex Merced
Charles Schumer
Chele Farley
Dave Webber
Kirsten Gillibrand
Marc Molinaro
Scott Noren
Wendy Long
Open Seats / Turnovers 2022:
AL-5: Mo Brooks (R) running for AL Senator
CA-37: Karen Bass (D) running for mayor of Los Angeles
FL-10: Val Demings (D) running for FL Senator
FL-13: Charlie Crist (D) running for FL governor
HI-2: Kai Kahele (D) running for MD governor
MD-4: Anthony G. Brown (D) running for attorney general of Maryland
MO-4: Vicky Hartzler (R) running for MO Senator
MO-7: Billy Long (R) running for MO Senator
NY-1: Lee Zeldin (R) running for NY governor
NY-3: Thomas Suozzi (D) running for NY governor
NC-8: Ted Budd (R) running for NC Senator
NC-11: Madison Cawthorn (R) Incumbent lost renomination
OH-13: Tim Ryan (D) running for OH Senator
OK-2: Markwayne Mullin (R) running for OK Senator
OR-5: Kurt Schrader (D) Incumbent lost renomination
PA-17: Conor Lamb (D) running for PA Senator
SC-7: Tom Rice (R) Incumbent lost renomination
TX-1: Louie Gohmert (R) running for attorney general of Texas
VT-0: Peter Welch (D) running for VT Senator

Special Elections 2021:
LA-2: Troy Carter (R, April 2021)
LA-5: Julia Letlow (R, March 2021)
NM-1: Melanie Stansbury (D, June 2021)
OH-11: Shontel Brown (D, Nov. 2021)
OH-15: Mike Carey (R, Nov. 2021)
TX-6: Jake Ellzey (R, July 2021)
Hot Races 2022:
CA-27: Christy Smith (D) vs. Mike Garcia (R)
FL 27: Annette Taddeo (D) vs. Maria Elvira Salazar (R)
GA-7: Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) lost redistricting race to Lucy McBath (D)
GA-10: Vernon Jones(R) vs. Paul Broun (R,lost May 24 primary) to replace Jody Hice (R) running for Secretary of GA
ME-2: Bruce Poliquin (R) rematch against Jared Golden (D)
MI-10: John James (R) - running for newly redistricted seat
MI-11: Andy Levin (D) redistricted to face Haley Stevens (D)
MT 1: Ryan Zinke (R) - running for newly created seat
MT-2: Al Olszewski(R) vs. Sam Rankin(Libertarian) vs. Matt Rosendale(R)
NJ-7: Thomas Kean Jr. (R) challenging Tom Malinowski (R)
NY-10: Bill de Blasio (D) challenging Mondaire Jones (D)
NY-11: Max Rose (D) challenging Nicole Malliotakis (R)
NY 12: Carolyn Maloney (D) redistricted to face Jerry Nadler (D)
RI-2: Seth Magaziner (D) vs. Allan Fung (R)
RI-1: Allen Waters (R) vs. David Cicilline (D)
TX-34: Mayra Flores (R) - Elected SPEL June 2022; general election Nov. 2022 against Vicente Gonzalez (D)
WA-4: Brad Klippert (R) challenging Dan Newhouse (R)
WV-2: David McKinley lost a redistricting race to fellow incumbent Alex Mooney

Special Elections 2022:
AK-0: Sarah Palin (R) vs. Al Gross (Independent)
CA-22: Connie Conway (R) replaced Devin Nunes on June 7.
FL-20: Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D) replaced Alcee Hastings on Jan. 11.
MN-1: vacancy left by Jim Hagedorn (R), deceased Feb. 17; SPEL on August 9.
NE-1: Jeffrey Fortenberry (R) Resigned on March 31, after being convicted; Mike Flood (R) in SPEL on June 28.
NY-19: Marc Molinaro (R) running for SPEL Aug. 23 for seat vacated by Antonio Delgado (D), now Lt.Gov.
TX-34: Mayra Flores (R) SPEL June 14 for seat vacated by Filemon Vela Jr. (D)
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