DNC - McCain Renewable Energy Record: Endlessly Bad

McCain's Anti-Renewable Record Hurts Competitiveness; Costs American Jobs

Washington, DC -- While John McCain likes to talk tough about energy independence and renewable energy, John McCain today will cave in to his friends in the oil and gas industry.  Despite supporting a moratorium on off-shore drilling during his last presidential campaign and opposing offshore drilling in places like Florida, North Carolina and Oregon, Senator McCain will call for the elimination of the moratorium during his remarks in Houston today.  McCain will talk about promoting renewable energy, despite a clear record of repeatedly voting against the renewable energy incentives he now claims to support. McCain will criticize "reckless speculators" who are driving up gas prices by "gaming the system," even though that speculation was allowed to take place because the "Enron loophole" his top economic advisor and campaign co-chair Phil Gramm forced through left energy trading markets virtually unregulated.

McCain's recipe of more offshore drilling, new tax breaks for big oil, and gas tax gimmicks won't solve the gas price crisis problem anytime soon, and will actually delay real solutions. All the double talk and empty rhetoric aside, McCain is offering more of the same failed Bush policies that have driven energy prices through the roof, cost American jobs and put handouts for the oil and gas industry ahead of energy independence.  By hanging onto the past and opposing new investments in renewable energy solutions that create jobs and keep the United States competitive, John McCain is showing he doesn't understand the challenges facing America. 

"The John McCain who talks on the campaign trail about promoting energy independence sounds nothing like the John McCain who has repeatedly voted against responsible efforts to promote renewable energy and is caving in to the oil and gas industry on off-shore drilling," said Democratic National Committee Communications Director Karen Finney.  "How can Americans trust John McCain to deliver energy independence when he's changed his position to favor friends in Big Oil, his top economic advisors forced through special interest giveaways that helped create the problem, and he has no real plan to address the problem or create jobs that will help keep the United States competitive? As this campaign goes on, the voters will clearly see that a vote for Senator McCain is a vote for four more years of the same failed Bush policies that have cost American jobs, driven energy prices through the roof, and given huge handouts to his friends in the oil and gas industry." 


Renewable Energy Tax Credit Extension Worth 116,000 Jobs Per Year.  A 2008 economic study by Navigant Consulting finds that "over 116,000 U.S. jobs and nearly $19 billion in U.S. investment could be lost in just one year if renewable energy tax credits are not renewed by Congress, according to preliminary results released today by the American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association.  The study finds that over 76,000 jobs are put at risk in the wind industry, and approximately 40,000 jobs in the solar industry. The states that could lose the most jobs include: Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, Minnesota, Washington, Iowa, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and California. The lion's share of these states would lose more than 1,000 jobs."  [AWEA Press Release, 2/4/2008]

McCain Missed Key Votes On Extending Renewable Energy Tax Credits. McCain missed numerous votes in 2007 and 2008 on tax credits for renewable energy, due to his busy campaign schedule. Several of the votes he missed on extending existing tax credits failed by just a few votes. [2007 Senate Vote #98, 3/22/2007; 2007 Senate Vote #223, 6/21/2007; 2007 Senate Vote #416, 12/7/2007; 2008 Senate Vote #8, 2/6/2008]

McCain Repeatedly Voted Against Tax Credits For Renewable Energy Production. McCain voted against several amendments aimed at encouraging renewable energy production. [2006 Senate Vote #42, 3/14/2006; 2005 Senate Vote #158, 6/28/2005; 2001 Senate Vote #125, 5/21/2001]

  • McCain voted against an amendment to extend the renewable energy production tax credit and clean renewable energy bonds programs for four years including $290 Million for renewable energy R&D on Solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydropower. [2006 Senate Vote #42, 3/14/2006]
  • McCain Voted Against Major Energy Legislation Providing $18 Billion In Energy Related Tax Incentives. McCain voted against the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  The bill would overhaul the nation's energy policy and provide for approximately $18 billion in energy-related tax incentives. [2005 Senate Vote #158, 6/28/2005]
  • McCain voted against an amendment to establish tax credits for investments in renewable energy technologies, incentives for new energy efficient residential construction and tax deductions for increased energy efficiency in commercial buildings. [2001 Senate Vote #125, 5/21/2001]


McCain Missed Vote To Require Utilities To Produce 20 Percent Of Energy From Renewable Sources. McCain missed a vote on an amendment that would require utilities to produce 20 percent of their electricity from clean or renewable energy sources by 2020 in favor of an alternative amendment would require utilities to produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. [2007 Senate Vote #211, 6/14/2007]
McCain Voted Repeatedly Against Establishing National Renewable Energy Standards. McCain voted against an amendment that would mandate that renewable energy sources must produce at least 10 percent of the electricity sold by electric utilities by 2020, a minimum of 2.5 percent must be produced beginning 2008 through 2011. [2005 Senate Vote #141, 6/16/2005; 2002 Senate Vote #50, 3/14/2002; 2002 Senate Vote #55, 3/21/2002; 2002 Senate Vote #59, 3/21/2002]
2007: McCain Missed Vote On Passage Of 2007 Energy Policy Legislation. McCain missed a vote on passage of the energy bill that would overhaul national energy policies and increase the Corporate Average Fuel Economy. [2007 Senate Vote #226, 6/21/2007]

Energy Legislation Mandated Higher CAFE Standards, Increased Use Of Biofuels, And New Energy Efficiency Standards. McCain missed a vote on passage of the energy bill that would overhaul national energy policies and increase the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. The bill would make petroleum price gouging a federal crime in a "national energy emergency" and subject the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to U.S. antitrust laws. It would mandate the use of 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022, create new efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings and promote new energy technologies. It also would require the annual use of 15 billion gallons of biofuels by 2015, encourage carbon sequestration research and direct the State Department to pursue strategic partnerships with major energy-consuming and energy-producing nations. [2007 Senate Vote #226, 6/21/2007]


McCain's "Mixed Record" On The Environment Includes Votes Against Tougher Fuel Efficiency Standards And Incentives For Renewable Energy. "In speeches on the campaign trail, Mr. McCain frequently highlights the threat of climate change, but he has a mixed record on the environment in the Senate. In recent years he has pushed legislation to curb emissions that contribute to climate change, but he has missed votes on toughening fuel economy standards and has opposed tax breaks meant to encourage alternative energy… Leaders of several environmental groups were also sharply critical and noted Mr. McCain's Senate votes against incentives for energy conservation and alternative energy sources like wind and solar power." [New York Times, 5/13/2008]

WSJ: "McCain's Environmental Voting Record Is More Complicated Than He Portrays." "Overall, Sen. McCain's environmental voting record is more complicated than he portrays it. In July 2003, he voted against Democrats' proposal to raise fuel-economy standards for cars and light trucks to 40 miles a gallon by 2015. In June 2005, he voted against a congressional proposal to establish a renewable-electricity standard of 10% by 2020. In December, he was the only senator to miss a vote on whether to funding extension of tax credits for renewable energy by eliminating billions of dollars in tax deductions for oil companies." [Wall Street Journal, 5/12/2008]

Washington Post: McCain's Offers Voters Contradictory Positions On The Environment. "But an examination of McCain's voting record shows an inconsistent approach to the environment: He champions some "green" causes while casting sometimes contradictory votes on others. The senator from Arizona has been resolute in his quest to impose a federal limit on greenhouse gas emissions, even when it means challenging his own party. But he has also cast votes against tightening fuel-efficiency standards and resisted requiring public utilities to offer a specific amount of electricity from renewable sources." [Washington Post, 5/12/2008]


President Of The League Of Conservation Voters Said McCain Should Stop Subsidizing "Mature" Industry Of Nuclear Power, Start Investing In Renewable Energy. According to a statement from Gene Karpinkski, president of the League "[It] is troubling that he continues to support taxpayer subsidies for a mature industry like nuclear which has yet to resolve its waste disposal problem…It would be far more cost-effective to invest in renewable energy like the wind energy plant he is visiting today. Better still would be a call for a renewable electricity standard, something he has voted against time and time again." [The Nation, 5/12/2008]

McCain Says He Would Veto The Farm Bill -- $300 Million in Renewable Biofuels Funding.  The farm bill "provides $300 million in mandatory funding for payments to support production of advanced biofuels including cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel." There is also "$250 million in grants and loan guarantees for renewable energy and energy efficiency systems for agriculture and rural small businesses." [McCain Prepared Remarks, 5/19/08; Reuters, 5/15/2008]

McCain Opposed $290 Million For R&D On Renewable Energy, Including Wind Power. McCain voted against an amendment to extend the renewable energy production tax credit and clean renewable energy bonds programs for four years including $290 Million for renewable energy R&D on Solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydropower. [2006 Senate Vote #42, 3/14/2006]

McCain Cast Deciding Vote to Cut Funding For the Rural Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program From $23 Million To $3 Million. McCain voted for a motion to concur in the House amendment with the Senate amendment on the bill that made changes to programs for a net savings of $39.7 billion over five years.  [2005 Senate Vote #363, 12/21/2005]


What Gets Cut?  "Totally Legitimate" Programs That "Began Life" As An Earmark.  According to the Wall Street Journal's "WahingtonWire," McCain often rails against "earmarks" on the campaign trail as a means to cutting big government, and now presumably to pay for his tax cuts, but his real intention is to cut $95 billion that 'began life as an earmark,' much of which would be "totally legitimate spending that has been properly authorized through normal budget procedures."    [WashingtonWire, 4/16/08, http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/04/16/mccain-proposes-deep-federal-spending-cuts/?mod=WSJBlog]

McCain Opposed Project To WestStart's Vehicular Flywheel Project. McCain opposed "$1.5 million for WestStart's Vehicular Flywheel Project in the State of Washington….One of the unfortunate aspects about an appropriations bill is that quite often, or most of the time, there is not an explanation. As I remember flywheel projects, it seems to me that was a perpetual motion machine. But it is something on which I think we should continue to make an effort. So we have decided to gift WestStart's-I don't know who WestStart's is. I know they are located in the State of Washington-$1.5 million to continue that effort." [Congressional Record, 1/23/03]

WestStart Project Could Cut Diesel Fuel Use In Half. "Sen. Murray announces appropriation for flywheel hybrid vehicle system with potential to reduce diesel emissions by 90% and diesel fuel consumption by 50%. AFS Trinity Power Corporation's hybrid bus and truck program to cut particulate emissions by 90% has received an additional $1 million government award and has become more urgent as evidence mounts that diesel emission particulates may be the number one cause of lung damage in urban areas, the company announced today. The new, flywheel-based hybrid vehicle system is also expected to cut fuel consumption in half, the company said" [AFS Trinity Press Rlease Via Business Wire, 2/5/04, http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20040205005214&newsLang=en]

McCain Opposed Research On Electric Vehicles. McCain ranted, "The bill includes unrequested plus-ups in excess of $42 million for automotive and combat vehicle technology research, including research on vehicle composites, electric drives, and battery recharging." [Congressional Record, 7/11/97] 


1999: McCain, Campaigning In California, Endorsed A Moratorium On Offshore Oil Drilling. "For a moment, Republican presidential hopeful John McCain almost sounded like a San Francisco liberal. The Arizona senator said yesterday that gays and lesbians would be welcome to serve in his administration. He decried the influence of money in politics. He endorsed a moratorium on offshore oil drilling." [San Francisco Chronicle, 7/29/99]
1999: McCain Supports The Current Moratorium On Oil Drilling. "In response to a query of the candidates, Gore and Bradley promised to support the existing moratorium, in addition to opposing the leases. Both also say they will work with the seven oil companies holding leases to find alternatives to drilling. That could mean canceling the leases, or buying out the companies in a deal like the one that secured the Headwaters  Forest. McCain supports the current moratorium, but hasn't decided on the pending leases. Steve Forbes hasn't replied to questions about oil drilling." [Ventura County Star, 11/15/99]

McCain Said He Supported Florida's Decision Not To Drill For Oil.  While meeting with Gov. Charlie Crist, McCain trumpeted his support of Florida's position on oil drilling, saying "In the case of the Everglades, the people of Florida have decided they don't want that tampered with for a variety of reasons and I totally agree." [AP, 10/2/2007]

McCain Said The Decision To Drill Should Be Left Up To The States. At a campaign event in Michigan, McCain promised voters he would not drill in ANWR, arguing that it should be a states decision.  McCain said, "That's a fundamental federalist principle that I have. The states should decide what to do with their assets… if the states and others want to have drilling off their coast, such as Louisiana does, then that's fine with me. We're doing a great deal off Louisiana. The people of California don't want to and, as a federalist, I will respect that, as well." [McCain Campaign Event, Ypsilanti, Michigan, 1/15/08]

But, McCain Voted Against An Amendment To Give Coastal States More Authority In Federal Off-Shore Drilling Decisions.  In 1992, McCain voted to kill an amendment to the National Energy Policy bill (S 2166) which would have strengthened the role of coastal states in federal offshore drilling decisions. [1992 Senate Vote #25, 2/19/1992]

McCain Voted Against Giving Governors Veto Power Over Natural Gas Lines Located In State Waters. McCain voted against an amendment to allow state governor to veto the siting, construction, expansion or operation of a liquified natural gas (LNG) facility, located on-shore or in State waters. [2005 Senate Vote #146, 6/22/2005]