Bill Nelson on Energy and the Environment

Last Updated : Oct 26, 2012

Summary

Senator Nelson is a strong believer in man-made global warming. He opposes expanded drilling in ANWR and strongly opposes increased drilling offshore and around Florida. He has expressed support for a cap-and-trade system but does not discuss the legislation often. He has opposed efforts to repeal polluter pay laws and use tax money to clean up spills instead of punishing the polluter. To address oil consumption, Senator Nelson strongly supports raising CAFE standards and using biofuels. He supports alternative energy financing through the government.

Climate Change

In 2001, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor stating that the scientific community is fairly unanimous, but the small amount of skepticism is used as an excuse for others to say that global warming is not upon us. He also stated that there is, in fact, a correlation between the production of CO2 into the atmosphere and global warming. He noted that global warming would cause an increase in hurricane intensity and frequency, and expressed support for the Kyoto accords and disappointment in President Bush failing to agree to them.

In 2003, Senator Nelson stated that he was perplexed that there were still people who did not believe in man-made global warming. He noted his support for a cap-and-trade system to address the emissions problem. He expressed concern over the outer layer of the atmosphere and its ability to reflect ultraviolet rays. In 2008, he reiterated his view that man-made global warming was real and was a danger.

 

Drilling and Oil

In 2001, Senator Nelson opposed the release of new drilling lands off the coast of Florida stating that the risk to the Florida coast was too great. He stated that the oil from these leases would give only a 2 month supply of fuel. He also stated that the State of Florida has consistently taken the position that we should not have oil and gas drilling because of the high cost and potential damage to our environment and to our economy. Finally, Senator Nelson noted his belief that 80 percent of all economically recoverable, undiscovered gas reserves and 60 percent of the future recoverable oil reserves are on the Outer Continental Shelf and not in the area off the State of Florida.

Over and over again in repeated speeches, Senator Nelson notes his opposition to drilling in ANWR and off the coast of Florida, stating that the tourism industry would be in danger. In 2004, Senator Nelson opposed allowing natural gas drilling off the coast of Florida stating that if you allow the gas rigs, then the oil rigs will follow.

CAFE Standards

In 2001, Senator Nelson stated that there is no reason why this country cannot produce a car that is economical and that will get 80 miles per gallon. He noted that the amount of oil that would be produced by the proposed sale of drilling rights off the Florida coast would be saved by increased the fuel average by 3 mph.

Senator Nelson repeatedly asserts that the transportation industry is the largest consumer of oil and that one proven method to reduce consumption is to increase gas mileage. He stated in 2003 that if we don't get serious about increasing the miles per gallon on our automobiles and trucks, we are simply not going to be able to address our dependence on foreign oil. He supported an amendment to increase the CAFE standards to 40mpg by 2012.

Ethanol

In 2005, Senator Nelson noted that most of the oil consumption in the country came from the transportation sector. He noted that we could have ethanol not made just from corn, but made from sugarcane, sugar beats, cellulose. He noted that we have 31 million acres of prairie grass in this country, which could make ethanol much cheaper.

 

Opposition to Exploration

On April 24, 2001 Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor noting his opposition to offshore oil drilling.

 

Climate Change and Technology Act

On June 8, 2001 Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about the topic of global warming and climate change. He notes his support for the Kyoto accords and the need to address climate change to save Florida.

 

Global Warming

In June of 2001, just a few days after speaking on the climage change legislation proposed by Senator Byrd, Senator Nelson added to his comments.

 

Opposition to Offshore Drilling

In June of 2001, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor noting his opposition to drilling off the coast of Florida.

 

Environmental Policy

In June of 2002, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about the overall environmental policy.

 

Energy Policy Act of 2003

In June of 2003, Senator Nelson spoke on the senate floor about the need for an energy policy that included new technology and the threat of global warming.

 

Energy Policy Act of 2003

In November of 2003, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor noting his opposition to the Energy Policy Act on the basis that Floridians are opposed to drilling.

 

Foreign Oil and Mileage

In November of 2003, Senator Nelson spoke on the senate floor on the topic of energy independence and the need to adjust fuel mileage to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

 

Support for Ban on Drilling

In 2004, Senator Nelson issued a press statement noting his opposition to offshore drilling and his hope that the Bush administration would extend a ban set to expire in 2007 another 5 years.

 

Continue Prohibition on Drilling

In May and November of 2005, Senator Nelson released statements noting his support for a recent decision not to act on legislation that would allow drilling more than 50 miles off the coast.

 

Ethanol

In September of 2005, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about the overall topic of energy production. He discused the need for higher mileage cars and noted that ethanol would also help reduce dependence.

 

Filibustering Drilling Provisions

In March of 2006, Senator Nelson released a press statement noting his support for a filibuster on legislation that would open up vast new area around Florida for drilling. 

 

Opposition to Drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf

In July of 2006, Senator Nelson joined with numerous other Senators to propose an amendment that would ban offshore drilling in the outer continental shelf until 2022. Their intentions are noted in a letter to Senate Majority leader Frist.

 

Energy Independence the Key to Security

In September of 2006, Senator Nelson issued press statement noting that the key to national security is energy independence.  

 

Expanded Drilling

In April of 2007, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor

 

Long Term Energy Solutions

In June of 2007, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about long term energy solutions. He discusses and amendment that he would like to proposed to raise CAFE standards to 40mpg, but his view that this was not politically feasible.

 

Auto Emission Standards

In July of 2007, Senator Nelson released a statement noting that the federal government must act to allow states to enact stricter air quality standards.

 

The High Cost of Energy

In June of 2008, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about the overall topic of energy and its cost to American taxpayers.

 

Climate Change

In June of 2008, Senator Nelson spoke about the overall topic of climate change in relation to cap-and-trade legislation.

 

The Myth of No Oil Spills in the Gulf

In July of 2008, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about the myth that there have been no oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico due to hurricanes.

 

 

Orlando Sentinel Interview

In August of 2008, Senator Nelson was interviewed by the Orlando Sentinel and asked about legislation that he had introduced to ban drilling off the coast of Florida.

 

Opposition to Oil Speculation

In June of 2008, Senator Nelson released a statement noting legislation he had filed to end oil speculation.

 

Drill in the Right Place

In September of 2008, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about a drillling ban that was about to expire and his support for driling, but drilling in the right place.

 

43 MPG Cars

In December of 2008, Senator Nelson released a statement noting his desire to see 42MPG cars as a part of the auto bailout.

 

Support for Solar Power

In February of 2009, Senator Nelson released a press statement noting his support for a solar power initiative.

 

Oil Drilling 10 Miles off the Coast

In June of 2009, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor on new possible drilling regulations that may lead to drilling 10 miles off the coast.

 

Comments on Cap-and-Trade Legislation

In May of 2010, Senator Nelson released a press statement noting provisions in the cap-and-trade legislation that he supported to ban drilling around the Florida coast.

 

Tax Breaks and Oil Companies

In May of 2011, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about tax breaks that were initiatied many years in the past and should be repealed as they are no longer necessary to help oil companies and provide them with a benefit above other industries.

 

2012 Campaign Website Statements

 

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. Bill Nelson voted in favor of ending oil subsidies.

Bill Nelson 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. Bill Nelson voted against approving the Keystone Pipeline project.

Bill Nelson voted against 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. Bill Nelson voted in favor of approving presidential waiver to the Keystone pipeline.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of 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. Bill Nelson voted against the amendment and thus supported using reconciliation to pass cap-and-trade.

Bill Nelson voted against the amendment and thus supported 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. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008.

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

Bill Nelson 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. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.

Bill Nelson 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. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the amendment.

Bill Nelson 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. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the amendment and thus opposed ANWR drilling.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of the amendment and thus opposed ANWR drilling.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge amendment

In April of 2002, the Senate voted on an amendment to allow ANWR to be opened up for drilling. The full amendment was a separate piece of legislation that dictated the amount of land to be leased, the amount to be reimbursed to native Alaskans, an amount to be traded with Israel, and numerous other provisions. The amendmnent failed to pass the Senate 46-54. Bill Nelson voted against the amendment to open up ANWR to drilling.

Bill Nelson voted against the amendment to open up ANWR to drilling.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-111; Bill Number-S 271; Fuel Reduction using Electrons to End Dependence on the Mid-East (FREEDOM) Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) allow an election to expense the cost of manufacturing property for producing plug-in electric drive motor vehicles and components; (2) increase the number of such vehicles eligible for a tax credit; (3) allow a five-year recovery period for the depreciation of smart meters and smart grid systems; and (4) increase the rate of the tax credit for alternative fuel vehicle refueling property and the maximum credit amount for commercial refueling property.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 2555; Reducing Global Warming Pollution from Vehicles Act of 2008 - Cosponsor

Amends the Clean Air Act to approve the application of the state of California for a waiver of federal preemption of its motor vehicle emission standards.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 357; CAFE Standards and Price Gouging - Ten and Ten Fuel Economy Act - Cosponsor

A bill to improve passenger automobile fuel economy and safety, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and for other purposes.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 1618; Cellulosic Biofuel Tax Credit - Cosponsor

A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a credit for the production of a cellulosic biofuel.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 2191; America's Climate Security Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

A bill to direct the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a program to decrease emissions of greenhouse gases, and for other purposes.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 2025; Vehicle and Fuel Choices for American Security Act - Cosponsor

A bill to promote the national security and stability of the United States economy by reducing the dependence of the United States on oil through the use of alternative fuels and new technology, and for other purposes.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 342; Climate Stewardship Act of 2005 - Cosponsor

A bill to provide for a program of scientific research on abrupt climate change, to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by establishing a market-driven system of greenhouse gas tradeable allowances, to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and reduce dependence upon foreign oil, and ensure benefits to consumers from the trading in such allowances.

Session-110; Bill Number-S Res 598; Developing Nations and Natural Resources - Cosponsor

Expresses the sense of the Senate that: (1) the government should fully use federal authorities, diplomatic agreements, and other appropriate mechanisms, including working with other donor nations, to identify global conservation goals, and increase funding for, global conservation strategies in order to help ensure the sustainable use of natural resources and protect biological diversity in terrestrial and marine environments of developing countries; and (2) federal efforts should reflect a recognition of the problem's urgency by annually reporting to the appropriate congressional committees regarding progress reports and action plans.

Session-112; Bill Number-S 940; Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act - Cosponsor

Expresses the sense of the Senate that: (1) the President and Administration should be commended for recognizing the severity of high gas prices and for taking appropriate actions to help reduce gas prices; (2) Congress should take additional actions to complement the efforts of the President; (3) the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) should contribute to the stabilization of world oil markets and prices and reduce the burden of high gasoline prices by using existing idle oil production capacity to compensate for any supply shortages; and (4) U.S. economic, environmental, and national security depend on a sustained effort to reduce and eventually eliminate the dependence of the United States on oil. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to deny to oil companies with gross receipts in excess of $1 billion in a taxable year and an average daily worldwide production of crude oil of at least 500,000 barrels a year: (1) a foreign tax credit if such company is a dual capacity taxpayer, as defined by this Act; (2) the tax deduction for income attributable to domestic production of oil, natural gas, or primary products thereof; (3) the tax deduction for intangible drilling and development costs; (4) the percentage depletion allowance for oil and gas wells; and (5) the tax deduction for qualified tertiary injectant expenses. Amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to repeal the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to grant royalty relief (suspension of royalties) for natural gas production from deep wells and deep water oil and gas production in the Outer Continental Shelf. Dedicates any increased revenue generated by this Act to the reduction of a federal budget deficit or the public debt. Provides for compliance of the budgetary effects of this Act with the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 3541; Deepwater Drilling Royalty Prohibition Act - Cosponsor

Prohibits the Secretary of the Interior from issuing any oil or gas lease sale under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act with royalty-based incentives in any tract located in water depths of 400 meters or more on the outer Continental Shelf. Amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to repeal royalty relief (suspension of royalties) for deep water oil and gas production in the Western and Central Planning Area of the Gulf of Mexico (including the portion of the Eastern Planning Area encompassing whole lease blocks lying west of 87 degrees, 30 minutes West longitude). Amends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit the Secretary from reducing or eliminating any royalty or net profit share for any lease or unit located in water depths of 400 meters or more on the outer Continental Shelf.

References

[1] Website: Orlando Sentinel Article: U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson mixes it up with Lake leaders Author: Christine Show Accessed on: 02/03/2011

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