Tuesday, November 3, 2009

No Kidding: Obstructionist Senators Rate High on Big Oil Report Card

Normally, you'd get an "F" for cutting class. But the seven Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee who today skipped out on a markup of the Kerry-Boxer clean energy and climate legislation are likely to get a gold star from Big Oil for their obstructive tactics.

The latest "Voter Guide" from the American Petroleum Institute - a front group for major oil companies that organized dozens of Astroturf rallies this summer to defeat clean energy - gives high marks to the EPW Committee's Republican members. Scoring six votes that Big Oil considers important, the API guide gives the minority members a collective 93% -- and a whopping five perfect scores!

James Inhofe – 100%
George Voinovich – 100%
David Vitter – 100%
John Barrasso – 100%
Christopher Bond – 100%
Lamar Alexander – 83%
Mike Crapo – 66%

So, in five of seven cases, minority members of the Environment and Public Works Committee voted in perfect lockstep with what API describes as Big Oil's "preferred position" on legislation. In every single case, what was that preferred position?

"NO."

In all six cases, Big Oil gave a gold star to Republican committee members for voting to block changes to the status quo -- failed energy policies that are nonetheless lining Big Oil's pockets. Here's a listing of each vote in the 110th Congress, with descriptions of the issues at stake from Congressional Quarterly. See if you can guess why Big Oil might reward a "NO" vote!

NO: Roll call vote 223, on an amendment with Republican and Democratic cosponsors that would establish $32.1 billion of tax incentives for alternative energy sources.

NO: Vote 226, on passage of a bill to overhaul national energy policies and increase the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020.

NO: Vote 145, to end debate and proceed to a vote on a plan to cap carbon pollution nationwide and set up a trading system for companies to buy and sell carbon pollution allowances.

NO: Vote 146, to end debate and proceed to a vote on legislation to repeal tax benefits for oil companies worth $17 billion over 10 years that were enacted in 2004 and 2005, as well as direct the money to renewable energy.

NO: Vote 150, to end debate and proceed to a vote on a measure to extend dozens of expired or expiring tax provisions for one year and create new clean energy-related tax incentives.

NO: Vote 190, to end debate and proceed to a vote on a similar measure that would also have extended dozens of expired or expiring tax provisions for one year and created new clean energy-related tax incentives.

So, to summarize: Voting NO on any and all reforms that might cap carbon pollution, invest in clean energy or end tax breaks for oil companies making record profits makes you a Big Oil All-Star.

Really? Seriously??!

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