Kerry campaign issues energy plan

by William Yeatman on August 3, 2004

in Politics

The presidential campaign of Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) released a fourteen-page energy policy paper on August 2 that emphasizes reducing Americas dependence on foreign oil. “An Energy Independent America” argues that, “Dependence on foreign oil is a security problem because it forces us to rely on volatile regions ruled by some of the world’s most authoritarian regimes. We believe a strong America must no longer rely on the cooperation of regimes that may not share our values, and we are not willing to risk a future in which our young men and women might have to risk their lives to protect Mideast oil supplies.”

Energy independence has been a favorite rallying cry across the political spectrum for some years, but ignores the fact that crude oil is a global commodity and therefore prices are set in a global market.

The Kerry campaign plan also calls for $10 billion in taxpayer funding for clean coal technology research and the use of “flexible, market-based strategies” to lower nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SOx), carbon dioxide (CO2), and mercury emissions from such facilities. “Flexible, market-based strategies” would appear to mean that Kerry supports cap-and-trade programs for carbon dioxide emissions and the various air pollutants. Senator Kerry voted for the Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship Act on October 30, 2003, which would have put a cap on CO2 emissions.

The proposal also states that as President Kerry would “update and strengthen” fuel-efficiency standards and provide incentives for automakers to build more efficient automobiles and for consumers to purchase these automobiles. This appears to be a retreat from Kerrys earlier call to increase corporate average fuel efficiency (CAFE) standards to 36 miles per gallon from the current 27.5 mpg by 2015. Such a requirement would place many drivers lives in danger as automakers would be forced to produce smaller, lighter vehicles.

The plan re-iterates Kerrys goal of a 20 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2020 for electric utilities and an expansion of the production tax credit for wind and biomass energy sources (Greenwire, Aug. 3).

On the campaign trail in West Virginia, Senator John Edwards (D-N. C.), Kerrys vice presidential running mate, emphasized the Democratic tickets support for coal. “For us, coal is an enormous part of our energy strategy for America. We need to be investing in clean coal technology, which is not happening now. We want to make sure people who work in coal now keep their jobs (Wheeling News Register, Aug. 1). The Bush campaign suggested that Kerrys “rhetoric doesnt match his actions.”

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