What: All Issues : Corporate Subsidies : Agriculture : CLEAN Energy Act (H.R. 6), Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) amendment to expedite the permitting process for the expansion of refinery facility and authorize federal funding for the development of coal-to-liquid and cellulosic biomass fuels/On adoption of the amendment (2007 senate Roll Call 210)
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CLEAN Energy Act (H.R. 6), Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) amendment to expedite the permitting process for the expansion of refinery facility and authorize federal funding for the development of coal-to-liquid and cellulosic biomass fuels/On adoption of the amendment
senate Roll Call 210     Jun 13, 2007
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on an amendment by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) to legislation aiming to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels that would have allowed states and Indian tribes to participate in a new program to streamline the permitting process and provide grants for new oil refineries on former military bases and tribal lands. Inhofe's amendment also would have offered incentives to ethanol and coal-to-liquid plants that produce transportation fuels from coal.

Inhofe maintained that it was hypocritical to attempt to reduce oil imports without tackling the problem of lack of refining capacity in the United States. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) added, "We can't have a serious discussion about energy without discussing the fact that it has been more than 30 years since the last oil refinery was built in the United States.

"It is clear that something is wrong with a permitting process when it is so burdensome it prevents the construction of that which is so vital to our nation," Enzi continued.

Democrats pointed out that a similar version of Inhofe's amendment couldn't even make it out of the Environment and Public Works Committee when Inhofe was the chairman in the previous Congress.

"When you strip it all away, this amendment is a giveaway - a giveaway to energy companies at a time when they have never had it so good, at a time when they have never made so much money," said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). Boxer further asserted that Inhofe's amendment would undermine many significant environmental laws that were enacted by both Democratic and Republican presidents over the past 30 years, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

"Those are a few examples of Federal laws which are cast asunder by this amendment. Who gets the benefit?" Boxer continued, listing the chemicals and known carcinogens put in the environment by oil refineries.

Democrats were unanimous in their opposition to Inhofe's proposal, and two Republicans joined them in voting against it. By a vote of 43 to 52, an amendment that would have provided federal grants to oil companies and made it easier for new oil refineries to be built was rejected, and legislation aiming to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels by increasing fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles and other measures went forward without the proposed language.

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