Amy Klobuchar on Energy & Oil

DFL Sr Senator (MN); Democratic presidential contender


Reverse Trump climate rollbacks and put a price on carbon

We need to get back into the International Climate Change Agreement. I will do that on day one. On day two, bring back the clean power rules, on day three, the gas mileage standards. I see the governor of California who has been working so hard to get those done, defied every step of the way by the Trump administration. Then introduce legislation to put a price on carbon and build a bridge to the next century, which means we must upgrade buildings and building standards.
Source: Newshour/Politico/PBS December Democratic primary debate , Dec 19, 2019

Show how investment in climate change will benefit Midwest

The way we take on climate change is by talking about what's happening in the Midwest. What we are seeing there is unprecedented flooding. We're seeing a 50% increase in home insurance. We have to make clear that money is going to come back to those areas where jobs are going to change and to make them whole with their energy bills. When you make the case like that, you bring in the Midwestern votes, and the best way to do it is by putting someone from the Midwest at the top of the ticket.
Source: Newshour/Politico/PBS December Democratic primary debate , Dec 19, 2019

Our mission: solve climate crisis, without harming economy

Q: In a recent interview on climate change and coal, you said it doesn't make sense to "get rid of all these industries or do this in a few years." Talk about the timing.

KLOBUCHAR: The timing is to make this our mission, like landing on the moon, or the Civil Rights movement where our country came together and said we're going to solve something. And when do you that, you get the new technology and the new results. I was being honest, I don't think we can phase it out in a few years. To me that's like 2 or 3 or 4 years. Right? You have to do it over a period of time, you have to be aware of where people are working and how are you going to do this in a way that keeps our economy going and keeps our economy strong. There is an old Ojibway saying that "great leaders should make decisions not for this generation but for seven generations from now." [We should] put that money into R&D and work with the private sector, perfect the storage for energy, the sooner we can do this, the better.

Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats) , Sep 4, 2019

No all-out ban on fracking; we need a transition

Q: You have not joined some of your colleagues who are calling for an all out ban on fracking. Why?

KLOBUCHAR: Because I see natural gas as a transitional fuel. It is better than oil, but it's not nearly as good as wind and solar. However, you have situations where you have dangerous fracking that shouldn't be happening. So as president in my first 100 days, I will review every fracking permit there is and decide which ones should be allowed to be continued and which ones are too dangerous. Then you go from there. And as you put a price on carbon, you will see less of this going on--because once you put rules of the road in place, it's going to become less economically feasible for that kind of fuel. I remember only a few years ago we were celebrating work of the Obama administration for natural gas-fueled buses. Why? It was better than the old kind of buses. So you have to see this as a transition as we move ahead to a better and cleaner environment.

Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats) , Sep 4, 2019

Carbon neutral is goal; nuclear/coal during transition

Q: What defines safe nuclear power and clean coal? Don't they sound like oxymorons?

A: We have to go to carbon neutral by no later than 2050. With nuclear I would look at all the plants we have right now. It is about 20% of our energy and it doesn't emit carbon. I would look at those plants and make sure they're safe and figure out what upgrades we have to make, but I wouldn't expand nuclear unless we can find safe storage. I wouldn't allow for building of new coal plants. What we're as we phase out coal plants is how we can make them better for the environment.

Q: How do we get to carbon neutrality?

A: Being part of the international climate change agreement again, to have some clout and leverage with our allies will make a big difference. The thing which is really exciting is putting incentives out there for farmers to do things that will reduce CO2 in the atmosphere. That's things like planting winter cover crops. As president I would expand it greatly.

Source: Climate Crisis Town Hall (CNN 2019 Democratic primary) , Sep 4, 2019

Energy efficiency is low-hanging fruit

Q: Our least expensive, fastest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to simply use less energy in our daily lives. What plans do you have for getting U.S. citizens and businesses to change their behavior?

KLOBUCHAR: The former Energy Secretary always referred to energy efficiency as a low-hanging fruit. Putting really strict building standards in place to make these buildings as energy efficient as possible to reduce our carbon. Moving to electric cars and trucks. To do that of course, we need the grid and that's why my infrastructure plan is so focused on green infrastructure. There are numerous examples of what we can be doing to make energy efficiency, which I agree is this low-hanging fruit. You know why it's popular with the public? Whether it's increasing the gas mileage standards and then eventually moving to electric cars, or the building standards, or the appliance standards--it's popular because if people save money they really like

Source: Climate Crisis Town Hall (CNN 2019 Democratic primary) , Sep 4, 2019

Would rejoin climate pact & propose new legislation

Climate change isn't happening 100 years from now. It's happening right now, and that's why as your president on day one I would get us back into the international climate change agreement. That's day 1. On day 2 and day 3, I would bring back the clean power rules that the Obama administration worked out that will make a big dent in this. I will bring back the gas mileage standards that they just left. I would propose sweeping legislations for green buildings and new ideas and we need to do this.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020: 5 candidates back-to-back , Apr 22, 2019

Open to carbon tax, but without increased prices

Q: As president, would you keep the U.S. in the Paris Agreement and commit to more ambitious targets in 2020?

Her campaign didn't answer this question, but Ms. Klobuchar said at a CNN town hall-style event: "I will, as first day as the president, sign us back into the international climate change agreement. That is on Day 1."

Q: Do you support a federal carbon tax? If so, at what price per ton, and how do you envision the proceeds being used?

Ms. Klobuchar's campaign said she was open to a carbon tax but would not support one that increased prices for lower- and middle-income Americans. It did not provide an on-the-record quote.

Q: Would you restore Obama-era climate change regulations that the Trump administration has reversed, like the Clean Power Plan, methane limits and vehicle emissions standards?

Ms. Klobuchar's campaign confirmed that she would restore the Clean Power Plan and gas mileage standards, but did not provide an on-the-record quote.

Source: 2019 "Meet the Candidates" (NY Times.com) , Apr 18, 2019

Green New Deal is aspirational; don't over-promise

Sen. Amy Klobuchar placed herself firmly in the center lane of the Democratic primary, calling popular progressive policy platforms "aspirational," and declining to fully commit to them. The Minnesota Democrat called the Green New Deal "aspirational" -- pitching herself as pragmatic Midwesterner who won't over-promise liberal policies to primary voters.

On climate change, Klobuchar said she believes that "we can get close" to the Green New Deal, but that she doesn't "think we're going to get rid of entire industries in the U.S."

"We need to get this debate going, and this is put out there as an aspiration in that something we need to move toward," she said. "Do I think we can cross every 'T' and dot every 'I' in 10 years? Actually, I think that would be very difficult to do."

She also looked ahead to the potential legislation, acknowledging that "there are going to be compromises" and "it's not going to look exactly like that," she said.

Source: Politico.com on 2020 Democratic primary hopefuls , Feb 18, 2019

Green New Deal opens discussion on climate change

The Green New Deal is so important for our country [despite disagreements] on exactly how and when it will work. This is a discussion that we must have as a country.

I will, as first day as the president, sign us back into the international climate change agreement. I will also bring back the clean power rules that the Trump administration left on the cutting room floor. I will also bring back the gas mileage standards and then propose sweeping legislation to upgrade our infrastructure.

Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Feb 18, 2019

Rejoin Paris climate deal; meet UN goals

Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Feb 10, 2019

2007: increased gas-mileage standards

It's important to acknowledge that sometimes government functions exactly as it should. I can think of several times during my years in the Senate when we worked successfully on important, long-term issues. They took a lot of work and victory was never certain. In 2007, for example, we increased the gas-mileage standards for the first time since 1984. I was part of the bipartisan group that worked to change those standards, and it was a great moment when we succeeded.
Source: The Senator Next Door, by Amy Klobuchar, p.263 , Aug 24, 2015

Invest in homegrown, renewable energy sources

I will fight to expand incentives for investment in homegrown, renewable energy sources and technology. While the recently passed energy bill includes a number of provisions that will help promote homegrown Minnesota energy, I believe we need to do more. Here in Minnesota, we have the ability to produce a wide variety of homegrown energy, including ethanol, biodiesel, wind, solar and biomass. This will be a huge source of jobs in Minnesota for decades to come.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.amyklobuchar.com, “Issues” , Jan 18, 2006

Gas gouging penalty against oil companies

I will fight to stop price gouging by oil companies. In early Sept., I called for a “gas gouging penalty” against oil companies that were gouging American consumers at the gas pump even before Hurricane Katrina. Oil companies were already enjoying record profits, with double-digit increases each quarter. It violates our basic principle of fair play when major oil companies can gouge consumers?not only hurting ordinary families, but also harming other businesses that see their own costs go up dramatically
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.amyklobuchar.com, “Issues” , Jan 18, 2006

National strategy to address global warming

I will fight for a national strategy to address global warming and reduce greenhouse gases by developing renewable sources of fuel and by setting energy efficiency and emission standards that protect our environment and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I will fight to expand incentives to encourage greater investment in renewable energy resources and technology. This is good for the nation and it’s good for Minnesota.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.amyklobuchar.com, “Issues” , Jan 18, 2006

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 YES on protecting middle-income taxpayers from a national energy tax.