Friday, July 04, 2008

Jim Slattery: "Energy Crisis, Outlines Comprehensive Energy Reform"

Slattery Discusses Energy Crisis
Outlines Comprehensive Energy Reform

Overland Park, KS- Jim Slattery, candidate for the US Senate, held a press conference today to discuss the high price of gas.

"As gas prices continue to reach record highs, Kansas families are really struggling to make ends meet," Slattery said.

Slattery highlighted the failed energy policy of the Bush Administration.

"$4 gas is a direct result of the disastrous policy decisions made by politicians in Washington, including my opponent, Pat Roberts," Slattery said.

When Roberts was elected to the Senate twelve years ago gas cost $1.26 per gallon. Since that time, gas prices have increased over 200 percent. Meanwhile, big oil companies have made record profits; nearly $600 billion since President Bush took office.

"Roberts must be held accountable for his votes that led to this energy crisis," Slattery said. "Clearly, Kansas cannot afford another six years with Roberts in the US Senate"

In addition to the failed energy policy of the Bush Administration, Slattery pointed to failures in economic and foreign policy as contributors to the high price of fuel.

"The declining value of the dollar has helped drive gas prices to record levels," Slattery said. "This is a direct result of the irresponsible spend and borrow fiscal policy of the Bush Administration that Sen. Roberts has supported."

Slattery said that Americans are paying a "war premium" on gas as a result of the War in Iraq.

"Stabilizing the Middle East will help to dramatically lower the price of gas," he said.

Slattery asserted that speculation was artificially driving up the cost of oil and that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission must be directed to aggressively monitor oil markets.

"Some experts believe speculation on Wall Street is driving up oil prices by as much as $40 a barrel," Slattery said. "The 'Enron Loophole' Roberts voted for has allowed energy commodities to be traded on markets exempt from federal, state, or local oversight. By closing the loophole and restoring the original intent of the law, we can drive down the price."

Slattery also expressed concern that Big Oil companies were intentionally driving up the cost of oil.

"With the help of Roberts, international oil companies have reaped record profits at the expense of Kansas families," Slattery said. "Congress should investigate to ensure that oil companies have not intentionally created supply shortages as they did in the late '90's."

Slattery also offered long-term solutions in the form of comprehensive energy reform including reduced dependence on foreign oil.

"The first step to energy independence is conservation," Slattery said. "The cheapest form of energy is energy we don't use at all."

Slattery pointed to the fact that Roberts has consistently voted against requiring automakers to improve gas mileage until this election year.

Slattery also said that we should expand domestic oil production.

"While I do not believe we can drill ourselves out of this situation, we must engage all of our resources to begin rectifying it," Slattery said.

Meanwhile, Slattery said the United States should invest in the development of alternative energy.

"Investing in alternative energy sources will not only free us from foreign oil, but create new green jobs," he said.

In June, Roberts voted against the Renewable Energy and Job Creation act that increased incentives for clean energy development including wind and solar.

Other energy alternatives suggested by Slattery included revisiting nuclear generation and developing clean coal technology.

Slattery concluded by saying that Kansans are ready for real solutions.

"We must retire the politicians who got us into this mess," Slattery said, "and elect new leaders who will stop rewarding international oil companies, and start looking out for Kansas families."

# # #

Roberts' Record

Roberts supports bringing transparency into energy markets, where speculation is driving up the price of oil.

Roberts Voted Against Closing the "Enron Loophole," Improving Energy Transparency: Roberts, on November 5, 2003, voted against the Feinstein amendment to close what supporters "called the 'Enron loophole' in the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000." As the AP reported, the loophole "allowed the energy trader to buy and sell energy holdings largely in secret without government regulation. It would have improved price transparency in wholesale electricity markets, prohibited manipulation in electricity markets and provided the Commodity Futures Trading Commission more tools to monitor over-the-counter energy markets. Maximum fines for violating either the Federal Power Act or the Natural Gas Act would have risen from $5,000 to $1 million." The Feinstein amendment required the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to establish regulations and an electronic information system to facilitate price transparency and participation in markets subject to FERC jurisdiction. It also would prohibit "round trip" trades, which generate profit without any commodity actually changing hands, and it would increase criminal and civil penalties for violations of the Federal Power Act and general penalties of the Natural Gas Act. The amendment was rejected 41-56. [Vote #436, 11/5/03; Environment and Energy Daily, 11/06/03; The Associated Press, 11/05/03]

Roberts supports improving vehicle fuel efficiency to help Kansans save at the pump.

Sen. Roberts has had many opportunities to support fuel efficiency in Congress and has voted against it consistently.

1) Roberts Twice Voted to Weaken CAFÉ Standards. In 2005, Roberts voted for an amendment that would require the Transportation secretary to consider several factors, including technological feasibility and economic practicability, when determining the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. It would direct the secretary to issue an environmental assessment of the effects of increased fuel efficiency standards on the environment and would authorize $5 million annually from fiscal 2006 through 2010 for it. In the very next vote, Roberts voted against an amendment that would mandate phased increases in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Passenger vehicles made before 2008 would have to average 25 miles per gallon. The standard would gradually increase to 40 miles per gallon by model year 2016. Non-passenger vehicles made before 2008 would have to average 17 miles per gallon. By model year 2016, the standard would rise to an average of 27.5 miles per gallon. [Vote #156, 6/29/05; Vote #157, 6/23/05]

2) Roberts Voted Against Improving Automobile Fuel Efficiency Standards. In 2005, Roberts voted against an amendment that would improve the system for enhancing automobile fuel efficiency. [Vote #157, 6/23/05]

3) Roberts Voted Against Voluntary Diesel Emission Reduction Standards. In 2005, Roberts voted for an amendment to the Energy Bill that would establish a voluntary national and state-level grant and loan program to reduce diesel emissions. [Vote #154, 6/23/05]

4) Roberts Voted to Require an Increase in CAFÉ Standards Based on Maximum Feasible Average Fuel Economy Levels. In 2002, Roberts voted to strike the CAFE provisions and replace them with a requirement for the Secretary of Transportation to issue new regulations to increase CAFE standards based on the maximum feasible average fuel economy levels that can be achieved for automobiles and light trucks. The amendment was agreed to, 62-38. [Vote #47, 3/13/02]
· League of Conservation Voters: Roberts Opposed a Provision that Could Save America as Much as 2 Million Barrels of Oil Per Day. To encourage bipartisan support, Senator Kerry reached a compromise with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and planned to offer it as an amendment on the Senate floor. The Kerry-McCain amendment would have raised the standard to 36 mpg by 2015, which would have saved 2 million barrels per day by 2020. [Vote #47, 3/13/02;]

5) Roberts Voted Against Allowing an Increase In CAFE Standards For Pickup Trucks. In 2002, Roberts voted against allowing any increase in the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard for pickup trucks above the current standard of 20.7 miles per gallon. The amendment would not affect minivans or SUVS, which technically are in the "light truck" category. [Vote #48, 3/13/02]

6) Roberts Voted Against Increasing CAFE Standards to 40 Miles Per Gallon by 2014. In 2003, Roberts voted against an amendment that would have increased CAFE standards to 40 miles per gallon by 2014, nearly doubling the required mileage at the time. [Vote #309, 7/29/03; Washington Times, 7/30/03]

7) Roberts Twice Voted Against Increasing CAFÉ Standards to only 35 MPG by 2020. In 2007, Roberts voted against an amendment that would have increased CAFÉ standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. The amendment passed 63-30. Roberts again voted against the final bill (which passed 65-27) on June 21, 2007. [Vote #209, 6/12/07; Vote #226 6/21/07]
a. After Roberts voted against the amendment, against the Senate bill, in December of 2007 on the eve of election year, decided to reverse his position and voted for an increase in CAFÉ standards." [Vote #430, 12/13/07]


Roberts' encourages alternative sources of energy to help Americans lessen their dependence on foreign oil.


1) Roberts Opposed Reducing America's Dependence on Foreign Oil. Despite the fact that it would only set goals for reducing dependence on foreign oil, rather than setting hard requirement, Roberts voted against an amendment that would encourage President Bush to develop measures to reduce the nation's dependency on foreign petroleum by 40 percent by 2025. [Vote #140, 6/16/05; Oil Daily, 6/17/05]

2) Roberts Rejected Tax Credits for Renewable Energy Technologies. On a vote of 43-56, the Senate rejected an amendment from Senator Bingaman (D-NM) to establish tax credits for investments in renewable energy technologies. Roberts voted against these incentives even as our country must increase our energy efficiency to be less dependent on foreign oil. [Vote #125, 5/21/01]

3) Roberts Voted Against Renewable Fuel Requirements. In April 2004, Roberts voted against requiring that gasoline sold or introduced into the United States contain renewable fuel in specific amounts, beginning with 3.1 billion gallons in 2005 and increasing each year to 5 billion gallons in 2012. [Vote #73, 4/29/04]

4) Roberts Voted for Tabling Renewable Fuel Mandates. In 2002, Roberts voted to strike the vehicle renewable fuel mandates from the Daschle further modified substitute amendment to the National Laboratories Partnership Improvement Act of 2001. The motion to table was agreed to, 69-30. [Vote #78, 4/23/02]

5) Roberts Voted Against Renewable and Energy Efficient Tax Incentives. In 2008, Roberts voted against an amendment to create a reserve fund in the budget to allow for legislation to extend renewable and energy efficient tax incentives. [Vote #97, 3/22/07]

Roberts' supports lowering gas prices through co-sponsoring the "Gas Price Reduction Act"

The votes Roberts has cast on energy policy are lockstep with the Bush Administration and have gotten us where we are today with $4 a gallon gasoline and oil at over $130 a barrel. Even a feeble attempt to attach his name to a bill that may impact gas prices 15 to 30 years from now won't fool Kansans who know the facts on Roberts' record.

Abbie Hodgson
Director of Communications
Slattery for Senate
785.232.6800 (office)

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