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Public Statements

Issue Position: Energy and the Environment

Issue Position

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Date:
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It is essential for the United States to have a balanced, comprehensive national energy policy that increases and diversifies our country's energy supply in environmentally and economically friendly ways. As a major consumer of energy, America also should be a leader in the development of new sources of energy, the development of renewable resources and the development of our own natural resources.

I also believe that it is necessary to conserve our natural resources, and I believe that we can protect our environment while still providing for economic opportunity. In fact, the two must be linked. We have made great progress in developing time-tested, environmentally sound technologies for harvesting the resources of our lands, without degrading the environment.

Regulating Greenhouse Gases

On Dec. 7, 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its finding that greenhouse gases threaten public health. The endangerment finding took effect on Jan. 14, 2010, and clears the way for the EPA to develop greenhouse gas rules.

I believe it is the responsibility of Congress to address the issue of climate change so I joined with 40 of my colleagues in co-sponsoring a bipartisan disapproval resolution to stop the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

This backdoor attempt to regulate greenhouse gases would have dramatic negative effects on our manufacturing sector while also causing significant increases in the cost of power generation. While we should take proactive steps to reduce our emissions footprint, it is absolutely essential to address the economic impact of these measures on our economy.

Gas Prices and Our Dependence on Foreign Oil

I have concerns with the significant increase in energy costs and its effects on the American economy and the family budget. I recognize the frustrations Americans have with the high cost of energy, and I am dedicated to solving this problem and developing a long-overdue and much needed national energy policy.

There are no quick fixes in dealing with this issue, but there are things we have done to address it and there are more things we must do. I have voted to explore our own reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) because I believe we can be good stewards of our land while at the same time exploring for resources that increase supply and lessen our dependence on foreign oil, thus reducing prices. Unfortunately, we were unable to obtain the 60 votes needed to end the filibuster on this legislation in the last Congress. It is my hope that we will be able to address and pass these needed reforms in this session of Congress. I have voted to make oil-producing and exporting cartels, such as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), illegal, and to make any legislation that is introduced in the Senate that would increase gas prices subject to a procedural roadblock.

I also have voted in favor of a 35-mile-per-gallon Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard for automobiles. By 2020, all cars sold in the United States must get an average of 35 miles to the gallon, saving 18 billion gallons a year of gas by 2020 and significantly reducing demand and gas prices. Last Congress I also wrote President Bush to ask that he immediately halt deposits of domestic crude oil into the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Temporarily halting deposits to the reserve can provide some relief because the increased supply of oil available for refinement will send the right signal to all markets that the U.S. Government will take measures necessary to address exorbitant crude oil prices that negatively affect the global economy.

As a major consumer of energy, America should be a leader in the development of new sources of energy and the development of renewable resources. In addition, our energy infrastructure should encourage using all viable sources, including nuclear, natural gas, clean coal, wind, solar and geothermal energies. We have a diverse country with many assets that differ regionally.

Last Congress I joined with Republican and Democratic colleagues to develop national energy policy to implement innovative solutions to increase electric generation and transmission, reduce gas prices, lessen our dependence on foreign oil, and strengthen our economy. America's energy infrastructure should encourage using all viable sources, including nuclear, natural gas, clean coal, wind, solar and geothermal energies. We have a diverse country with many assets that differ regionally. If we are going to have standards that call on us to find renewable energy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we must promote all of our resources. The use of alternative feed-stocks such as wood byproducts, grasses, and byproducts from peanuts, cotton and municipal waste can help us achieve a positive relationship between our economic needs and our environment's conservation. We also should invest in new technologies involving ethanol, biodiesel and coal liquification to replace traditional fossil fuels.

It is in our nation's geopolitical and security interests to develop these technologies so that we stop purchasing energy from dictatorial regimes such as Iran and Venezuela that seek to do us harm. The Congress must continue to work to explore and recover domestic sources of energy, develop alternative fuel and energy sources, and continue to work to reduce demand for energy through conservation and efficiency.

Energy Alternatives

The use of energy drives our country's economy, and thus it is important to consider alternative ways in which we can provide for this need. Finding new resources that end our reliance upon foreign oil is essential for our economic and national security. Furthermore, the use of alternative fuels has a positive impact on our environment.

I have given my full support to the Advanced Energy Initiative, which focuses on decreasing our gasoline consumption. The use of alternative feed-stocks such as wood byproducts, grasses and byproducts from peanuts, cotton and municipal waste can help us achieve a positive relationship between our economic needs and our environmental conservation. We also should invest in new technologies involving ethanol, biodiesel and coal liquification to replace traditional fossil fuels.

America's energy infrastructure should encourage using energy sources such as nuclear, natural gas, clean coal, wind, solar and geothermal energies. I am supportive of granting tax credits to those who encourage the production of these alternative energy sources to end our dependence on foreign oil and other limited energy sources.

We have a diverse country with many assets that regionally are very different. If we're going to have standards that call on us to find renewable energy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we must promote all those sources and not narrow those sources.

Water Resources

I was pleased to serve on the conference committee that crafted a compromise on the Water Resources Development Act (H.R.1495), which authorizes Army Corps of Engineers projects dealing with flood control, storm protection, environmental restoration and inland navigation.

This bi-partisan, fiscally responsible bill is a tremendous step for Georgia. It is an investment in safe drinking water. It is an investment in stormwater management. It is an investment in flood control and water resources of the United States.

Protecting our nation's water supply and the infrastructure that ensures its quality is vital to our nation's security and our citizen's health.This legislation will provide much needed resources, particularly for small, rural communities, to assess the vulnerability of wastewater treatment facilities and address security needs.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has asked for my recommendation of Georgia projects to be authorized in the next Water Resources Development Act. I believe these projects are critical water infrastructure projects for Georgia.

Air Quality

In the past 10 years, Georgia has substantially improved its air quality. We must take the next step in this positive trend towards bringing cleaner air and better health to more of our citizens. We have learned a great deal about what approaches work best, and now is the time to put those lessons to use. We should implement market-based approaches to air and water quality that guarantee results while keeping utility prices affordable for Americans.

Climate Change

Science has shown us that there has been a gradual warming of the earth over the last 50 years. What is not as clear is whether the cause for this warming is man-made emissions, a cyclical warming of the planet, or a combination of both. Given the uncertainty in the science behind climate change, I believe that we should take proactive steps, both personally and as a nation, to reduce our emissions footprint. I also believe it is in our nation's geopolitical and security interests to develop reduced emissions technologies so that we stop purchasing energy from dictatorial regimes such as Iran and Venezuela that seek to do us harm.

I am concerned that, in a rush to judgment, the Congress will enact measures that will have dramatic negative effects on our manufacturing sector while also causing significant increases in the cost of power generation. I will work to ensure that we enact common-sense measures designed to address climate change and the economic impact of these measures on our economy.

Cap and Trade

I believe it is in the geopolitical and environmental interests of the United States to reduce our dependence on imported foreign oil. Such a reduction is possible through the development of all our domestic sources of energy, including nuclear, wind, biomass and biofuels, solar, hydro, geothermal, and exploration of oil off U.S. shores. I am concerned that some in Congress and the administration are rushing to judgment on a cap-and-trade system to regulate carbon. Cap and trade will raise the cost of energy to all Georgians, the majority of whom get their electricity from coal-fired electric plants. Such a program will tax carbon and redistribute that tax toward other programs unrelated to energy. We need incentives to reduce carbon, not taxes to punish its production.


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