Mark Warner on Energy & Oil

Democratic Jr Senator; previously Governor


All-of-the-above approach, including pro-coal

Warner asked Ed Gillespie about his views on global warming, and whether he sided with a majority of Republicans in Congress who remain skeptical of the science:" I'd love to take my opponent to Norfolk where seas are rising so much that the Navy is spending tens of millions a year just to raise the barriers."

Gillespie dodged Warner's question at first, but when pressed again on his climate change beliefs, Gillespie said he thinks there is evidence to support it. Gillespie added, "Norfolk is dealing with rising sea levels but people can debate what contributes to that or not." Still, Gillespie said he thinks the administration's new carbon pollution rules "go too far."

Warner wasn't as quick to attack the new standards. Warner, a pro-coal Democrat, said he is for an all-of-the-above approach to energy, but thinks the U.S. needs to use cleaner sources to offset coal plants built in developing countries.

Source: The Hill weblog on 2014 Virginia Senate debate , Jul 26, 2014

Opposes drilling ANWR; but OK to drill offshore

Gilmore tried to distinguish his energy policy from Warner’s by insisting the Democrat would oppose offshore drilling. Warner has said he would be in favor of allowing states to explore the possibility of drilling off their shores. He said “we need more drilling off the coast.” However, the candidates continue to differ on drilling in the ANWR: Gilmore favors it, while Warner opposes the practice.
Source: 2008 VA Senate Debate in The Washington Times , Sep 19, 2008

Offshore drilling is acceptable but not the “silver bullet”

GILMORE: [to Warner]: The difference between Mark Warner and myself rests with the part of the energy plan that will help people immediately. And that means we have to have more domestic oil production and free ourselves from the people overseas. We have to be prepared to drill in ANWR. We have to be prepared to drill offshore. And oil prices will go down if the US has a decisive energy policy.

WARNER: My position is that Congress should lift the moratorium on offshore drilling and leave that decision to the states. I don’t believe we should be drilling in ANWR. Because Congress set it aside as a pristine area and similar to Senator McCain’s position, I see the dangers. But where I disagree with Jim is that this is somehow the silver bullet. America has 3% of the world’s oil and we use 25% of the world’s oil. Drilling alone isn’t going to solve the whole problem. Investing in alternative energy is going to provide more immediate relief.

Source: 2008 VA Senate Debate between Jim Gilmore and Mark Warner , Jul 19, 2008

Vetoed offshore drilling ban until more laws & facts known

RHETORIC: Gilmore: “You said in your veto that you would not in fact exercise that state authority to begin to explore for oil back in 2005.”

REALITY: Governor Warner’s veto message on the 2005 offshore drilling ban called on the state to monitor “federal developments on domestic energy production,” as part of a larger state study. Warner vetoed the bill because it encroached on the role of the Governor to direct the activities of the Virginia Liaison Office and directed the Commonwealth to advocate for federal legislation that has yet to be introduced. [Warner Veto Message, 3/29/05]

In January 2006, a study prepared for Governor Warner and state legislators “recommended that Virginia allow offshore exploration for natural gas and oil deposits but take precautions to protect the environment.” The study “suggested that drilling take place at least 50 miles from the coast and that no pipelines or other equipment be placed ashore.” [Washington Post, 4/6/06]

Source: 2008 VA Senate Debate: analysis by Warner campaign , Jul 19, 2008

Drastically reduced emissions from VA coal power plants

Coal-fired power plants are among the largest emitters of air pollutants in the country--pollutants that cause acid rain and harm human health. June 2003, the Warner administration, along with the federal EPA and four other states entered into a settlement with Dominion Resources, the state’s largest electric utility, requiring Dominion to drastically reduce emissions from its power plants. At the time, it represented the largest settlement in the history of the Clean Air Act.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, markwarner2008.com, “Issues” , Mar 9, 2008

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.