Patrick Leahy on Energy & Oil

Democratic Sr Senator (VT)


Human-caused climate change is accelerating

Q: What do you believe the federal government should do to control global climate change?

Patrick Leahy: Human-caused climate change is accelerating with each passing year to devastating effects on our natural resources and our global economy. We must act to mitigate any further damage by aggressively moving toward clean energy sources and cutting our carbon emissions. I was proud to support President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which set the first ever carbon pollution standards for power plants, our nation's largest stationary source of greenhouse gas emissions. But more needs to be done. We cannot allow climate deniers to continue to risk the futures of our children and our grandchildren. Addressing the devastating effects of human-caused climate change, which is accelerating each year. We must do everything we can to protect our environment, especially Lake Champlain, the Green Mountain National Forest and Vermont's other environmental treasures.

Source: Vote411.org League of Women Voters: 2016 Vermont Senate Race , Sep 19, 2016

Voted NO on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.

Congressional Summary:To prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change. The Clean Air Act is amended by adding a section entitled, "No Regulation of Emissions of Greenhouse Gases". In this section, the term 'greenhouse gas' means any of the following:
  1. Water vapor
  2. Carbon dioxide
  3. Methane
  4. Nitrous oxide
  5. Sulfur hexafluoride
  6. Hydrofluorocarbons
  7. Perfluorocarbons
  8. Any other substance subject to, or proposed to be subject to regulation to address climate change.
The definition of the term 'air pollutant' does not include a greenhouse gas, except for purposes of addressing concerns other than climate change.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Sen. McConnell, R-KY]: The White House is trying to impose a backdoor national energy tax through the EPA. It is a strange way to respond to rising gas prices. But it is perfectly consistent with the current Energy Secretary's previously stated desire to get gas prices in the US up to where they are in Europe.

Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Sen. Lautenberg, D-NJ]:We hear the message that has been going around: Let's get rid of the EPA's ability to regulate. Who are they to tell us what businesses can do? Thank goodness that in this democratic society in which we live, there are rules and regulations to keep us as a civilized nation. The Supreme Court and scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency agreed that the Clean Air Act is a tool we must use to stop dangerous pollution. This amendment, it is very clear, favors one group--the business community. The Republican tea party politicians say: "Just ignore the Supreme Court. Ignore the scientists. We know better." They want to reward the polluters by crippling EPA's ability to enforce the Clean Air Act.
Status: Failed 50-50 (3/5 required)

Reference: Energy Tax Prevention Act; Bill Am183 to S.49 ; vote number 11-SV054 on Apr 6, 2011

Voted NO on protecting middle-income taxpayers from a national energy tax.