Mark Pryor on Energy and the Environment

Last Updated : Nov 15, 2012

Summary

Senator Pryor beleives in man made global warming. He has stated that the US is a contributor to climate change and we must take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To address this, he has put forth legislation to enable a committee to best determine what to do and assistance to other countries to transition to clean technologies.

OPEC and Oil

In 2004, Senator Pryor urged action to confront OPEC over its decision to cut production in oil by 2.5 million barrels a day. He stated that oil prices have climbed more than 15 percent, resulting in record gasoline prices that burden the economy of the United States and produce budget surpluses in nations like Saudi Arabia.

Energy Policy Act of 2005

In 2005, Senator Pryor put forth two amendments to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The first would authorize the federal government to make financial commitments for research and development and technology through direct loans, loan guarantees, standby default and interest coverage for projects which deploy technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also established a Climate Coordinating Committee and Climate Credit Board to assess, approve and fund projects. Additionally, the legislation would encourage adoption of US technologies overseas that are clean energy technologies. The bill would have the Secretary of State to work with developing countries on deployment of demonstration projects and technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and allow the U.S. Trade Representative to negotiate the removal of trade-related barriers to the export of greenhouse gas reducing technologies

The second amendment would promote the commercialization of biodiesel and hythane by requiring the Department of Energy, in conjunction with universities throughout the country, to prepare two reports that would evaluate how to best deploy biodiesel and hythane and create an infrastructure to support their enormous potential. He also stated that the US simply could not do nothing with respect to climate change.

CAFE Standards

In 2006, Senator Pryor sponsored the CAFE Reform Act of 2006, this legislation would begin the reform process for CAFE standards within 60 days and allow fines, paid by automakers that are in noncompliance with new standards, to be used for research and development into fuel efficient technologies and to support rulemaking activities.

In 2007, Senator Pryor was one of several Senators who co-sponsored an amendment to the Clean Energy Act of 2007 increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards by 30% by 2022 and 35% in 2025. It would also require manufacturers to produce advanced technology or flexible fuel vehicles in 50 percent of their passenger cars and light trucks by 2015. Senator Pryor called the standards aggressive and achievable.

Gas Prices

In May of 2006, Senator Pryor responsed to an FTC report that found that price gouging exists at multiple levels within the oil industry by calling for a federal law on price gouging. The Senator had called for these investigations multiple times throughout the previous months.

New Energy Reform Act

In 2008, Senator Pryor introduced the New Energy Reform Act. That legislation called for a focused effort to transition the nation’s motor vehicle fleets to fuels other than gasoline and diesel. To ease gas prices in the interim, the proposal included significant conservation provisions, consumer tax credits, and "responsible" measures to increase domestic production of oil through responsible drilling. The legislation was an alternative to the Democratic led plan that limited drilling to no less than 100 miles offshore and allowed states to allow drilling 50 miles offshore.

Supply Star Act of 2010

In May of 2010, Senator Pryor introduced the Supply Star Act. The legislation was designed to provide companies with financing, technical support, training and sector-wide networks to help improve their supply chain efficiency. The legislation would also provide public recognition to businesses which achieve the greatest efficiency improvements, rewarding them with a marketing tool that will help consumers make informed purchasing decisions.

Commodity Exchange Act

In May of 2011, Senator Pryor signed onto a letter to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission calling on them to take decisive action toward meeting its statutory deadline to implement new rules to protect consumers from excessive speculation and possible manipulation in the energy futures and swaps markets.

Senator Pryor asserted that record high volumes of financial oil speculation had spiked retail gasoline prices to levels unwarranted by supply and demand fundamentals, and that the CFTC had fallen dramatically behind in meeting the new Dodd-Frank statutory deadlines and requirements to implement rules to “diminish, eliminate, or prevent” unwarranted changes in the price of oil. He added that while there is likely a “risk premium” incorporated in the current price of oil due to conflict in the Middle East, anticipated demand growth in developing countries, and fluctuations in the value of the dollar, the growing volume of speculative positions are likely driving the wild and harmful oil price volatility, unwarranted Wall Street profits, and elevated gasoline and diesel prices at the pump.

Ethanol

In 2004, Senator Pryor supported legislation that would increase domestic ethanol production as a mechanism to increase domestic energy independence. He stated that paying high gas prices at the pump reminds us that we need to revolutionize they way we produce, use, and conserve energy in this country.

In June of 2011, Senator Pryor stated that the corn-based ethanol market has matured and is protected by an aggressive Renewable Fuel Standard, so it was hard to justify spending $6 billion annually on a subsidy that the non-partisan Government Accountability Office reports as having little impact on production, prices or jobs. It’s time to let this industry stand on its own.

Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Act

In September of 2011, Senator Pryor introduced the Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Act. That legislation would establish a program within the Department of Commerce to ensure that American clean energy technology firms, including parts suppliers and engineering and design firms, have the information and assistance they need to compete globally. Under the program, the International Trade Administration (ITA) would assist U.S. Clean Tech firms with export assistance to better navigate foreign markets to export their goods and services abroad, require ITA to promote policies that reduce production costs and encourage innovation, investment and productivity in the clean energy technology sector, and develop and implement a National Clean Energy Technology Export Strategy. Senator Pryor stated that the U.S. can outpace its global competitors and capture the clean energy industry if we can better promote emerging U.S. technologies and services.

Quadrennial Energy Review Act

In October of 2011, Senator Pryor supported the Quadrennial Energy Review act. The legislation would authorize a high-level government-wide working group to submit a comprehensive review of current domestic capabilities and future energy needs, as well as the resources, technologies, and policy recommendations to meet them. He noted in his press statement that the federal government has implemented a wide variety of subsidies, regulations, and mandates over the years, but we have fallen short in evaluating how effective our policies have been as there is no regular assessment of whether our policies can be consolidated, improved or repealed.

Keystone Pipeline

In January of 2012, Senator Pryor stated that he strongly disagreed with President Obama’s decision to postpone the Keystone pipeline project. He asserted that the project will sustain and create jobs in the United States and that it can be done in a way that protects the environment.

 

Ethanol Production

In April of 2004, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting his support for increased ethanol production to help increase US domestic energy supply. He stated that paying high gas prices at the pump reminds us that we need to revolutionize they way we produce, use, and conserve energy in this country

 

Standing Up to OPEC

In March of 2004, Senator Pryor issued a press statement urging action to confront OPEC over its decision to cut production in oil by 2.5 million barrels a day. He stated that oil prices have climbed more than 15 percent, resulting in record gasoline prices that burden the economy of the United States and produce budget surpluses in nations like Saudi Arabia.

 

Climate Change Amendment

In June of 2005, Senator Pryor introduced an amendment with Senatro Hagel to address global warming through a series of technical measures. He called the issue of global warming a controversial yet pressing one and called the proposed legislation a market-driven, technology-based approach. Noting that there was a domestic and international component to climate change, he noted that the plan would domestically authorize the federal government to make financial commitments for research and development and technology. Internationally, the plan would encourage developing countries to adopt U.S. technologies.

 

Components of Amendment

A few days after noting his support for the Hagel-Pryor Amendment, Senator Pryor issued another statement noting the components of the legislation. He also noted another provision that he supported which would require reports to evaluate how to best deploy biodiesel and hythane and create an infrastructure to support their enormous potential

 

Op-Ed on Gas Prices

In April of 2006, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting an op-ed that he had written discussing rising gas prices. He asserts that the oil industry is behaving improperly by restricting supply to drive up price.

 

CAFE Reform Act of 2006

In May of 2006, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting his support for the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency Reform Act of 2006. The legislation wouldbeginf raising and reforming current fuel economy standards for passenger cars within 60 days and allows fines, paid by automakers that are in noncompliance with new standards, to be used for research and development into fuel efficient technologies and to support rulemaking activities.

 

Price Gouging

In May of 2006, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting his support for a federal law to prevent price gouging in response to an FTC report that found that price gouging exists at multiple levels within the oil industry.

 

CAFE Standards Amendment

In June of 2007, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting an amendment that he and other Senators had added to the Clean Energy Act of 2007 to improve the fuel economy of US vehicles. Calling the plan aggressive and and achievable, the plan would require a 30% raise by 2022 and a 35% raise by 2025.

 

New Energy Reform Act

In August of 2008, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting legislation that he and Senator Lincoln were introducing called the New Energy Reform Act. He called the plan a comprehensive proposal that will bring families relief now and help plan for the future. The legislation itself called for moving vehicles to fuels other than oil, conservation provisions, and responsible drilling.

 

Supply Star Act of 2010

In May of 2010, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting his introduction of the Supply Star Act of 2010. He stated that the bill would build on the Energy Star program and on best practices in industry and research communities to give companies access to resources needed to maximize supply chain efficiency. Among other things, the legislation would provide companies with financing, technical support, training and sector-wide networks to help improve their supply chain efficiency.

 

Disclosure on EPA Regulations

In December of 2010, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting his view that that the Commerce Department should disclose its impact analysis of pending EPA regulations. Specifically, the Senator was requesting a federal analyses regarding the potential economic effects of a proposed Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) Rule. He stated that several Arkansas companies have stated that the regulation cannot be met at a reasonable cost.

 

Commodity Exchange Act

In May of 2011, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting a letter sent to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to use authority to reign in oil market speculation. He called upon the government and the CFTC to use its new power swiftly and to the fullest extent.

 

Ethanol Credit

In June of 2011, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting his support for ending the ethanol tax credit. He noted that corn-based ethanol is protected by an agressive Renewable Fuel Standard.

 

Clean Energy Legislation

In September of 2011, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting legislation that he was introducing called the Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Act of 2011. He stated that the legislation gives innovative, clean energy companies in the U.S. a competitive edge to market their goods and services abroad.

 

Quadrennial Energy Review Act

In October of 2011, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting the Quadrennial Energy Review that he and other Senators were introducing to catalogue energy sources. The legislation would authorize a high-level government-wide working group to submit a comprehensive review of current domestic capabilities and future energy needs, as well as the resources, technologies, and policy recommendations to meet them.

 

Keystone Pipeline

In January of 2012, Senator Pryor issued a press statement noting his opposition to President Obama;s actions to cancel a portion of the pipeline due to environmental concerns. He stated that the legislation would create and sustain jobs in the United States.

 

Voting Record

Oil Company and Alternative Energy Subsidies

On March 29, 2012 the Senate voted on a cloture motion on legislation to end subsidies to oil companies and to continue subsidies in alternative energy that are scheduled to end. Specifically, the bill would have ended or limited subsidies to oil and natural gas companies while extending subsides for wind companies and biofuel companies. The legislation failed to pass a cloture motion through a mostly party line vote. Mark Pryor voted in favor of ending oil subsidies.

Mark Pryor voted in favor of ending oil subsidies.

Keystone Pipeline Approval

In March of 2012, the Senate voted on an amendment proposed by Senator Hoeven to approve the Keystone pipeline project. The amendment passed 56-42 with the support of all Republicans and 1/5 of the Democrats. Mark Pryor voted in favor of approving the Keystone Pipeline project.

Mark Pryor voted in favor of approving the Keystone Pipeline project.

Keystone Pipeline - Presidential Waiver

In March of 2012, the Senate voted on an amendment proposed by Senator Wyden to prohibit oil produced in Canada and transported in any part of the Keystone pipeline from being exported unless the President waived the provision. The amendment failed 33-65 with the opposition of all Republicans and 2/5 of the Democrats. Mark Pryor voted against approving presidential waiver to the Keystone pipeline.

Mark Pryor voted against approving presidential waiver to the Keystone pipeline.

Cap and Trade

Cap and Trade is the name given to a government program to issue carbon credits to all companies. The company is limited to using only the amount of carbon issued to them by the government (the cap). If a company uses more, it can purchase additional carbon offsets from a company that has not used all their credits, or it can purchase credits from compainies which perform carbon offsets such as planting trees (the trade). The legislation passed the house but not enough senators supported the legislation to end a filibuster in the Senate. To prevent Senate Democrats from using a reconciliation technique to pass the bill with only 50 votes, Senate Republicans introduced an amendment stating oppositon to the use of reconciliation for cap and trade. The amendment passed with the support of all Republicans and about 2/3 of the Democrats. Mark Pryor voted in favor of the amendment and thus opposed using reconciliation to pass cap-and-trade.

Mark Pryor voted in favor of the amendment and thus opposed using reconciliation to pass cap-and-trade.

Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008

In September of 2008, The US Senate passed the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008. The Act created tax incentives for energy production and conservation. The bill was largely supported by the Democrats and largely opposed by the Republicans. The bill passed the House'); echo(' in May of 2008, and passed the Senate with widespread support in a 93-2 vote. Mark Pryor voted in favor of the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008.

Mark Pryor voted in favor of the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008.

Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007

Among other things, the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007 removed oil & gas exploration subsidies. The bill passed the House in January and passed the Senate in June. In the House, the bill was supported by almost all Democrats and opposed by a majority of Republicans. After passing the House, the bill got the support of most Democrats and roughly half of the Republicans, passing in a 65-27 vote. Mark Pryor voted in favor of the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007.

Mark Pryor voted in favor of the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007.

Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006

The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 was an attempt to open up more areas of the Gulf of Mexico for oil drilling. It passed the Senate with broad support in a 72-25 vote. However, it was not raised in the House. Mark Pryor voted in favor of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.

Mark Pryor voted in favor of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.

Amendment - Reduction of Oil Dependence

In June of 2005, the Senate voted on an amendment to reduce oil importation in the US by 40% by 2025. The would have raised the original goals set in the bill form a 1 million barrel per day reduction to a 7.6 million barrel per day reduction. This would most likely be achieved through increased CAFE standards of 78 miles per gallon in cars and a 185-percent increase in light trucks. The voted failed 47-53. Mark Pryor voted in favor of the amendment.

Mark Pryor voted in favor of the amendment.

Amendment - ANWR Fast Track

In March of 2003, the US Senate voted on an amendment to prevent fast-tracking of drilling in ANWR. The amendment passed 52-48. Mark Pryor voted in favor of the amendment and thus opposed ANWR drilling.

Mark Pryor voted in favor of the amendment and thus opposed ANWR drilling.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-109; Bill Number-S 2787; Western Hemisphere Energy Security Act of 2006 - Cosponsor

A bill to permit United States persons to participate in the exploration for and the extraction of hydrocarbon resources from any portion of a foreign maritime exclusive economic zone that is contiguous to the exclusive economic zone of the United States, and for other purposes.

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