Energy & Environment
We have tremendous work ahead to continue America’s place as the world leader in energy security. American homes and businesses place ever growing demands on an aging grid system, while families struggle to meet higher prices to fill their tank and heat their homes.
At the same time, America’s energy future holds great potential. New sources of fossil fuel are beginning to come online, and we continue to make significant investments in the technology and infrastructure necessary to make green energy a larger part of the solution. In the short-term, I support additional energy exploration, including projects like the Keystone-XL pipeline, when they are carried out thoughtfully and with sound science that works to protect the environment as well as the economy. I have voted to expedite the expansion of responsible offshore drilling and believe these activities can be done with accountability and to the benefit of all Americans. An “all-of-the-above” strategy including everything from natural gas to nuclear energy will be necessary to continue America’s economic growth in the near term.
This does not come without challenges. The issue of hydraulic fracturing has appeared at the center of local energy debates throughout our community. Because we live in a state with varying needs and concerns, I believe local communities must have a strong voice in the process before any new natural gas development can take place. As reported in the Oneida Daily Dispatch, I have said that home rule should be applied to the issue so local municipalities can review and decide what they want for their communities. That’s why I have supported calls for greater transparency from the industry in the chemicals they use and more opportunity for local input on the issue. I look forward to reviewing a final regulatory framework from the State of New York and new information from federal agencies engaged in measuring the risks and rewards of natural gas development so the process can move forward safely and responsibly.
In the long term, America’s energy challenges present great opportunity to create jobs and grow New York’s economy. America has always been a place of unmatched innovation, and I firmly believe that we can and will be the driving force in the years ahead on everything from grid improvement to energy storage to fuel efficiency. That is why I stand behind efforts to develop domestic green energy solutions, like homegrown biomass right here in New York State. I have supported programs like tax credits for green-manufacturing and the 1603 Treasury Grant program, which has already put millions of dollars to work in New York to create new energy and help create jobs. I understand, however, that green energy often comes with local concerns as well. While I support these programs broadly, I have always believed that siting decisions need to be made at the local level, with a requirement for proven local support before a power project like wind energy could be seriously considered. To that end, I oppose the recent Article X legislation that moves siting decisions to the state level.
Ultimately, I believe the movement from fossil fuels to clean energy will help us address growing concerns that carbon, mercury, and other emissions are harming the environment. Despite the ongoing debate over global climate change, objective science is clear that allowing increased emissions from traditional fuel sources will have long term implications not only for public health, but also for New York’s robust tourism industry. Small businesses in the region rely on a clean environment to encourage the hunting, fishing, skiing, and other outdoor activities that bring visitors to the region and for which the Adirondacks are known around the world. Through an investment in sound science that leads the region to a cleaner and energy-independent future, we will decrease the threat of global warming and protect thousands of jobs in New York’s vital tourism industry.
In addition to challenges at home, the global market for energy continues to drive costs in the United States. Overseas demand continues to rise at historic levels, with Southeast Asian countries like China and India competing for a larger and larger share of the resources necessary to power a growing economy. At the same time, Wall Street speculators are undertaking risky activities that account for as much as fifteen percent of the cost of oil by some estimates.
I have co-sponsored legislation to keep more U.S. oil here by requiring that oil drilled on taxpayer-owned property stay in the United States to drive down costs for middle class families. Likewise, I support robust oversight of Wall Street to prevent speculation that drives up prices while protecting the responsible market activities that help farmers, public utilities, airlines and similar businesses insulate themselves from sudden spikes in the price of fuel.
Central and Northern New York are already leading the way on nuclear power and green energy, with significant investments in solar, wind, biomass and other renewable fuels. As a Member of Congress, I will continue to support these initiatives and work with local leaders to develop an energy plan that benefits Upstate communities.