Dianne Feinstein on Energy & Oil

Democratic Sr Senator (CA)


Ethanol gets triple crown of government intervention

In the spring of 2011, I decided to set up a choice for any Republicans who wanted to defend tax earmarks by forcing a vote on eliminating the ethanol tax earmark. When Grover Norquist [President of ATR, the American for Tax Reform] once again called my proposal a "tax increase," I sent him a letter instructing him to drop his support of tax earmarks.

When the measure finally came to a vote, my amendment won handily on a bipartisan vote of 73 to 27 margin. Democrats had been persuaded by senators like Dianne Feinstein who argued, "Ethanol is the only industry that benefits from a triple crown of government intervention. Its use is mandated by law, it is protected by tariffs, and companies are paid by the federal government to use it."

Meanwhile, nearly all Republicans who had signed Norquists's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge," which Norquist had decided to interpret inappropriately, joined me in supporting genuine tax reform.

Source: The Debt Bomb, by Sen. Tom Coburn, p.248-50 , Apr 17, 2012

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.