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Questions Raised About McCain’s New Energy Proposals

By Guest Contributor on June 23, 2008 at 4:00 pm

"Questions Raised About McCain’s New Energy Proposals"

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Our guest blogger is Adam Jentleson, the Communications and Outreach Director for the Hyde Park Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

canada.gifJohn McCain’s record and past proposals raise serious questions about two new energy policies he rolled out today.

The first is the latest in McCain’s series of gimmicks masquerading as serious energy proposals: a contest to see who can create a better electric car battery the fastest. The winner gets $300 million.

A $300 million one-time payment may sound like a lot, but it’s a pittance compared to the $4 billion per-year tax break McCain has proposed giving to the 5 biggest oil companies (including $1.2 billion for Exxon Mobil alone).

If McCain is serious about providing incentives for the developing clean energy technology, why is he doling out much, much bigger incentives for the big oil companies to keep doing business as usual?

The second proposal is a series of new tax incentives to encourage people to buy cleaner cars.

But in the past 6 months, McCain has helped the Republican leadership block clean car tax credits not once, but twice. Both times, McCain had the key swing vote.

On February 6, 2008, there was an effort to add a package of clean energy tax breaks, including a $3000+ tax credit to encourage the purchase of electric, Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles, which can get 100+ miles to the gallon, to the economic stimulus bill. A cloture vote failed, 59-40 with McCain the only absence. McCain’s staff said that he would have “sided with the Republican leaders” in opposing the package.

In December 2007, McCain again could have broken a filibuster and helped the Senate pass the same package of clean car tax credits. But McCain missed the vote, and the effort to break the filibuster and pass the package failed by one vote, 59-40. After the vote, a McCain spokesperson said that McCain “would not have supported breaking the filibuster.”

If McCain were serious about clean car tax incentives, why did he block them twice in the Senate?

So while it’s true that the proposals McCain unveiled today are a lot more attractive than his “cruelly misleading” offshore drilling proposal, his record and the rest of his energy agenda appear to undermine both proposals.

Let’s hope the media reports the whole story.

Joe Romm has additional angles over at Climate Progress.

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