Energy Issues

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency:

Congressman Blumenauer supports policies that will help us transition to a clean energy future, and believes that a combination of regulations, tax incentives, and investment in research and development for cleaner energy can stimulate the market and help make financing renewable energy competitive with fossil fuels.

Blumenauer has advocated for and successfully passed numerous bills to support the renewable energy industry.

 

Comprehensive Tax Support for Clean Energy:

Blumenauer is a champion of legislation to provide tax incentives for renewable technologies such as wind, solar and geothermal. He also supports investing in energy efficiency and alternative fuel technologies. He has introduced legislation, the Bridge to a Clean Energy Future Act, to extend important tax provisions for renewable energy.

In 2009, Congress passed the Rural Wind Energy Development Act, Blumenauer legislation to create an investment tax credit for small wind turbines. More recently, he has introduced the Rural Wind Energy Expansion Act to expand the definition of small wind to include community scale wind projects.

Ending Support for Fossil Fuels:

The oil and gas industry is one of the most profitable industries the world has ever seen, claiming billions of dollars in earnings every year. Yet, oil and gas companies receive billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies annually. These tax breaks worsen the deficit, undermine our ability to invest in renewable energy sources, and damage our environment.

Considering this, Congressman Earl Blumenauer introduced the End Oil and Gas Tax Subsidies Act to end ten of the most egregious tax subsidies enjoyed by this industry. Curtailing these provisions will save taxpayers more than $23 billion over five years, and more than $44 billion over ten years, and will help to put these industries on a more level playing field with clean energy.

In addition to receiving tax breaks, many oil companies are not currently paying royalties to the American people for offshore public drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico that were issued between 1996 and 2000. Furthermore, a large number of these leases are held by state-owned or partially state-owned foreign firms. Blumenauer believes it is unacceptable that we are allowing foreign governments to drill on American public lands without paying a dime in royalties to the American people. He continues to fight to ensure that these free-loading oil companies have a strong incentive to renegotiate their leases and to pay their fair share of royalty taxes. 

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Combating Climate Change:

Congressman Blumenauer supports comprehensive actions at the local and national level to reduce carbon emissions, and supports Congressional action to price carbon.

Oregon is leading the charge. More than 400 companies across the state – and 50 within Portland – have signed climate declarations, pledging to embrace efficiency and clean energy in their operations. Guided by a precedent-setting Climate Action Plan and progressive leadership, the City of Portland and Multnomah County have lead the country in sustainability for decades, and have reduced carbon emissions by 14 percent since 1990, despite growth in population and jobs. There is more to come: both jurisdictions have committed to further reducing local carbon emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. These types of commitments – and results – are accessible and achievable, and they benefit the entire community.

At the national level, President Obama has taken great strides. Congressman Blumenauer supports the President’s actions in finalizing the Clean Power Plan, believing that it was a key first step for the country. The Clean Power Plan has set a bold but achievable goal for states in curbing their emissions from power plants, which emit roughly one-third of all domestic pollution. Blumenauer strongly opposes efforts in Congress to block this plan from going forward.

Congressman Blumenauer is also co-chair of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change and has led numerous efforts supporting congressional and administrative action to fight climate change.

He strongly supports:

  • A carbon tax on the nation’s largest polluters, in which they would pay a fee for each ton of pollution they release.
  • Providing people transportation choices through increased mass transit, sidewalks, and bike lanes.
  • Ensuring that our nation’s trade policies empower both the U.S. and our trading partners to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through provisions that, for example, ban the importation of illegally harvested timber. This black market trade accounts for nearly 17 percent of total carbon emissions each year and has been best addressed by embracing effective trade measures. These efforts not only protect our shared natural resources, but Oregon’s businesses, and others across the U.S., who play by the rules and embrace a carbon-conscious model.
  • Pursuing comprehensive adaptation strategies, such as flood mitigation, that will protect lives, keep our economy strong, and enhance the environment. This also involves ensuring that government agencies use the best available science to take climate change into account in planning and risk management.