Jon Tester on Energy & Oil

Democratic Jr Senator


Agricultural oil sources are profitable and renewable

Q: What are the most realistic alternative energy plans for Montana and America?

JONES: The cheapest electrical power is nuclear energy. We must re-institute nuclear power. Coal is another one. Montana is rich in coal, which can be liquefied into gasoline. Government over-regulates the energy industry.

BURNS: Last year we opened up some new areas for energy production. And we found more oil and we found more gas. Thatís what brings down the price of gasoline, when policies inject competition into the market.

TESTER: Americaís energy independence is critically important, and we have a tremendous opportunity in Montana to help America become energy-independent. If I were not running for US Senate, on my farm, we would be crushing safflower, because Iíve run the numbers, and it works, and it provides a renewable energy source that makes sense. We did a lot of things in the last session to help promote bio-fuels and renewables and wind energy.

Source: 2006 Montana 3-way Senate Debate at MSU , Oct 9, 2006

Global warming is much more rapid now than historically

Q: Your views on global climate change?

BURNS: Weíve been warming since the Ice Age, and that continues. Thatís a pretty well-known fact.

TESTER: The truth is, the polar ice cap is half as thick as it was in 1950. Yes, Earth is warming since the Ice Age, thatís correct, but itís warming much more rapidly now than it ever has in our history.

JONES: There is global warming; itís very slight; itís a recovery from whatís called the Little Ice Age, when the average temperatures were much lower. In the years 500AD to 1000AD, temperatures were much higher than they are right now. Global warming is a natural recovery, and is not harmful. Most of it is only happening in the northern hemisphere. Scientists have proven that carbon dioxide emissions contribute only about 5% of the total greenhouse gases. If we reduce that worldwide, do you think it will have a big impact no greenhouse gases? No it will not. This is a natural occurrence and we should not make any effort to change it.

Source: 2006 Montana 3-way Senate Debate at MSU (x-ref Burns) , Oct 9, 2006

Kyoto Accord needs worldwide communication & US leadership

Q: Should we ratify the Kyoto Accord, to restrict greenhouse gases?

BURNS: No; it doesnít get to the real folks that should have some way of controlling their greenhouse gases. Thatís the reason Iím a great believer in alternative fuels. We have to do everything that we can do, [but] stay within the economy growing.

TESTER: Us pulling out of the Kyoto Accord is exactly whatís wrong. We need to have communication with folks around the world. This is a worldwide problem. I hope [global warming] is a glitch in the environment, but we need to treat it in case itís not. Iíd point out that, with the exception of wind and solar, you still have carbon emissions from other renewables, like biofuels and ethanol. Our universities can be a big player in how we can sequester carbon, and solve this carbon issue. We can solve this problem but itís going to take some research dollars, and some commitment, and some leadership. The folks that are there canít do it. We need a change.

Source: 2006 Montana 3-way Senate Debate at MSU , Oct 9, 2006

Long-term tax credits for wind power development

The federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind power must be extended for 15 years. This tax credit is set to expire in 2008, and several times Congress has let the PTC expire only to retroactively renew it. Americaís wind producers need more certainty. This tax credit offers a per-megawatt tax credit on the sale of electricity generated from wind power. The tax credit lends a hand to a developing industry while encouraging renewable energy development and innovation.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, testerforsenate.com, ďIssuesĒ , Mar 7, 2006

4-point plan for getting over Americaís oil addiction

Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, testerforsenate.com, ďIssuesĒ , Mar 7, 2006

Affordable energy first in our resource-rich state

Affordable, reliable energy should be expected in Montana, and we need to make sure Montanaís residents get affordable energy first. Affordable energy should be one critical advantage to living in our resource-rich state.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, TesterForSenate.com, ďIssuesĒ , Dec 25, 2005

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.