Claire believes a broad strategy of investment in clean, renewable energy technologies and efficiency programs will help providers develop clean energy projects to secure America's energy independence -- something our country needs. Claire will continue to work towards expanding the reach of these technologies; finding new, cleaner, more efficient ways of producing home-grown energy and helping Missourians across the state cope with rising energy costs.
Climate Change Legislation:
Man-made emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, have contributed to a change in global climate patterns. In Missouri, this change is manifested in part by increased flooding and drought periods, as well as an increase in the number of days of extreme hot and cold temperatures. Furthermore, America's over-reliance on foreign oil is a matter of national security. Every year, we send trillions of dollars to hostile regimes in order to satisfy our energy needs. These problems need to be addressed.
Like many Missourians, Claire has concerns that any climate legislation may have unintended consequences for working families in Missouri who already struggling. The recent economic downturn has affected agricultural producers, manufacturers and working families throughout our state. Missouri is heavily reliant on coal for power generation and manufacturing, so any climate legislation must protect our consumers from unfair rate increases and prevent our manufacturing base from being outsourced to other nations unwilling to reduce their own carbon emissions.
Proposed climate change legislation would change the way we create, transmit and consume energy for years to come, and Claire will approach any legislation with the thoughtfulness and patience that such a consequential issue demands. She is committed to working toward a moderate compromise that protects consumers, farmers, small businesses and manufacturers. Claire will fight to make sure Missourians don't get the short end of the stick.
High Gas Prices:
During the last several years, the steady rise in gas prices has been attributed to an increase in demand combined with a decrease in the supply. As world demand climbs, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has responded by raising production quotas for oil slowly and reluctantly. Speculators have exacerbated the problem by buying oil up off the market at a rapid pace.
Drastic fluctuations in the price of gas emphasize that Americans can no longer rely on oil to fuel our country. Americans need alternatives to oil, and we need them as soon as possible. That's why Claire has supported measures like the Energy Independence and Security Act, which was signed into law (P.L.110-140) in 2008. This measure will help decrease the demand of world oil by investing in alternative fuels and making automobiles more fuel efficient. Claire also supports investments in new technologies like plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and advanced batteries that will help vehicles go farther on less gasoline.
In order for Congress to be part of the solution toward our energy crisis, Claire believes there must be a focus on reforms that get alternatives out to the energy market faster, rather than near-sighted proposals that prolong our addiction to oil.
Energy independence is one of the most important issues facing our national security today, which makes reducing our dependence on foreign oil a top priority at both the state and national level. To reduce the threat of international terrorism, we must diminish our reliance on foreign oil and expand domestic production of traditional and advanced biofuels. While Claire realizes there are many challenges to ensuring production and a market for these types of fuels, she believes these measures will go a long way towards making our nation energy independent.
In 2007, Claire supported the Renewable Fuel Standard passed by the Senate. This standard ensures that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels will be in use by 2022 -- 15 billion gallons of which will be produced from traditional renewable biofuels like corn-based ethanol and biodiesel, and 21 billion gallons of which will be produced from advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol, biobutanol, and fuels produced from unconventional feedstocks As America researches and develops advanced biofuel technologies, Claire will continue to work with her colleagues and Missouri producers to protect our nation's investment in first-generation biofuels such as biodiesel and corn-based ethanol.
Claire believes we need to continue to invest in renewable fuels infrastructure and support research and development of new bioenergy sources. With Claire's vote, Congress has enacted legislation to provide incentives that will encourage Americans to invest in these clean energy technologies. The 2008 Farm Bill (P.L. 110-246) includes grants, loans, and tax benefits to encourage research into renewable energy sources and help to make these sources more commercially viable. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (P.L. 110-343) extends tax credits to those who invest in energy generated by wind farms and solar power, and authorizes bonds for clean renewable energy and conservation programs on the state and local levels. Claire believes Missouri is an important producer of alternative energy and will continue to fight for measures that help producers capitalize on the opportunities available.
Every year, U.S. consumers spend $2.57 billion more than they should for gasoline and diesel fuel because they are buying "hot fuel." Consumers are getting less energy (BTUs) per gallon and are paying for more gas than they are receiving.
To protect Missouri's drivers, Claire has introduced the Future Accountability In Retail (FAIR) Fuel Act (S.1476). The FAIR Fuel Act of 2009 requires all retail gasoline and diesel fuel pumps to be fitted with automatic temperature sensing equipment that will regulate the distribution of fuel based on its temperature at the time of purchase (small-volume rural service stations are exempted). The FAIR Fuel Act, currently awaiting Senate consideration, has been praised as effective, common-sense consumer-protection legislation by groups such as the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Consumer Watchdog and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. Claire believes that consumers ought to receive what they are paying for and has pledged to fight for common-sense solutions to this problem.