U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “Tim Kaine – No On Energy”

In an ad attacking Gov. Tim Kaine’s (D-VA) positions on energy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce suggests that Kaine opposes American energy exploration, is against the Keystone pipeline, and supports costly cap-and-trade policies. But Kaine has supported energy development plans, including offshore exploration, provided they are adequately reviewed for their impacts on Virginians and the environment. Meanwhile, Kaine’s stance on cap-and-trade – which would likely have little impact on family budgets — is that the threats climate change poses to Virginia’s families and businesses must be addressed.

Kaine Requested Drilling Delay To Allow Time To Study Impact On Environment

The Chamber cites a September 13, 2012, Washington Times article to support its claim that Kaine “wants to delay” energy exploration.

Washington Times: Kaine Asked For Delays In Drilling Off The Coast Of Virginia In 2008-9. From the Washington Times article cited by the Chamber: “[Kaine] bristled, however, when President George W. Bush lifted an executive ban on offshore drilling and moved to explore for potential oil and natural gas, asking the government to delay the process until Mr. Obama took office to allow the new administration to consider its options. And in 2009, he urged Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to postpone the lease sale that would have allowed for oil and natural gas exploration off of Virginia’s southeastern coast, citing the conflict with the state’s aforementioned energy policies.” [Washington Times, 9/13/12]

In 2008, Bush Administration Moved To Allow Oil And Gas Drilling Off The Coast Of Virginia. From the Washington Post: “The Bush administration is moving ahead with efforts to lease the waters off Virginia’s coast to companies interested in drilling for oil and natural gas, despite calls from environmentalists that the plan should wait for the new president to take office.” [Washington Post, 11/12/08]

Kaine “Bristled” Because Bush Administration’s Proposal Ran Counter To Virginia’s Request Only To Explore For Natural Gas. From the Washington Post: “Randall Luthi, director of the Minerals Management Service, said there hasn’t been oil or gas exploration off Virginia’s coast since 1983. By moving forward now, the agency is fulfilling a request by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) to open up waters 50 miles offshore for exploration, Luthi said. In 2006, Kaine signed a bill supporting federal efforts to determine how much natural gas exists 50 or more miles off the Atlantic coast. In April, the Interior Department issued a revised five-year plan calling for drilling in federal waters off Virginia’s coastlines if the federal moratorium were lifted. ‘Those two actions allowed us to begin the process,’ Robinson said. But Delacey Skinner, Kaine’s communications director, said the Bush administration’s proposed review goes beyond what Kaine had requested. She said the administration appears to be preparing for a ‘carte blanche leasing out of drilling rights.’ ‘The state’s official position . . . was we asked for a narrow lifting of the moratorium that was targeted specifically for exploratory drilling for natural gas only,’ Skinner said. ‘In that sense, this is significantly different from what Virginia was seeking.’” [Washington Post, 11/12/08]

In 2009, Interior Secretary Salazar Delayed New Five-Year Drilling Plan, Saying The Bush Plan Relied On Outdated Data, But Did Not Delay Virginia Drilling. From the Star-Ledger: The Obama administration announced yesterday it will slow down an offshore oil drilling plan advanced in the final days of the Bush administration, saying the public needs more time to comment on it. Calling the Bush energy plan ‘a headlong rush of the worst kind,’ Interior Secretary Ken Salazar extended the March 23 deadline for public comment by six months. He said the federal government will gather more-current information about offshore drilling and develop a comprehensive energy plan that includes harnessing the power of wind and waves. […] Salazar said Bush’s plan relied on ‘very thin’ data that is nearly 30 years old. ‘It was a process rigged to force hurried decisions based on bad information. It was a process tilted toward the usual energy players while renewable-energy companies and the interests of American consumers and taxpayers were overlooked,’ he said. He directed the U.S. Geological Survey and the Minerals Management Service, among other federal agencies, to gather as much information as possible about offshore resources and issue a report within 45 days. […] Yesterday’s action does not affect Virginia, which is further along in the process.” [Star-Ledger via Nexis, 2/11/09]

  • Kaine Sent A Letter To Salazar Requesting That Virginia Lease Sales Be Delayed Until Plans Impacting The Rest Of The East Coast Were Finalized. From a letter from Gov. Tim Kaine to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar: “I applaud your decision to extend the public comment period for the proposed 4-Year Program for oil and gas development on the OCS by 180 days. As I understand it, that 5-year plan includes 3 areas off the Atlantic Coast. I have consistently called for the Minerals Management Service (MMS) to consider the Atlantic coast as a whole, rather than singling out a particular state for a lease sale. I believe that no lease sale should be conducted in the Atlantic until the process that you have outlined for the 5-Year Program is complete.” [Kaine Letter, 2/19/09]
  • Letter From Kaine Also Cited Conflict With State Energy Policies. From a letter from Gov. Tim Kaine to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar: “I am writing to ask that you postpone the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Special Lease Sale 220 that is proposed for Virginia’s coast. This Lease Sale is the only one currently proposed anywhere along the Atlantic seaboard. Virginia’s offshore energy policies as enacted in state law (Code of Virginia, Chapter 3 of Title 67) support federal efforts to determine the extent of natural gas resources 50 miles or more off the Atlantic shoreline, including appropriate federal funding for such an investigation. Our policies do not support exploration for oil or production of gas or oil, which would be allowed under Lease Sale 220.” [Kaine Letter, 2/19/09]

Article Also Notes That Recently Kaine Has Supported Measures To Allow For Energy Exploration Off The Coast Of Virginia. From the Washington Times article cited by the Chamber: “Earlier this year, Mr. Kaine, Mr. Allen, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, and Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb all spoke out against the Obama administration’s decision to leave Virginia’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) region out of its most recent five-year oil and gas leasing plan. Mr. Kaine also supports Mr. Warner and Mr. Webb’s Virginia Outer Continental Shelf Energy Production Act, which would open up Virginia’s shores for drilling off the coast and direct half the revenues toward conservation efforts, clean energy technology, and infrastructure projects to develop energy resources.” [Washington Times, 9/13/12]

GOP Tried To Rush Pipeline Before Full Review Of Environmental Impact

Kaine Supported Delay Because Congressional Republicans Tried To Force Through Pipeline Before Adequate Review. From a statement Kaine released: “Governor Tim Kaine today released the following statement regarding President Obama’s decision to accept a State Department recommendation to reject a permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. The State Department recommended denying the permit because there was not sufficient time to thoroughly review the project during the abbreviated window mandated by Congress. ‘Today’s decision is yet another example of Washington’s dysfunction. Instead of a thorough review of the Keystone Pipeline project, Congressional Republicans pushed for a hasty decision and even went so far as to hold a middle class tax cut hostage until they got their way. The American people expect their leaders to make informed, rational decisions, not rush to judgment on important projects because of an artificial, politically-motivated deadline.’” [Kaine Statement, 1/18/12]

Kaine Supported Continuing To Pursue Pipeline With Thorough Review. From Kaine’s statement on the Obama administration’s decision to deny the Keystone Pipeline permit: “Just because Congress forced a rushed decision, however, does not mean the review of this project needs to stop. I hope that the administration will continue to examine this project and offer its thoughts on how it can be safely accomplished. We need every single job our businesses can create and the Keystone Pipeline may help increase energy supplies, but by itself, it is not a solution to either our economic crisis or our energy crisis.’” [Kaine Statement, 1/18/12]

Congressional GOP Tried To Rush Keystone Decision Before Environmental, Health, And Safety Impacts Had Been Studied. From the Huffington Post: “Acting on a recommendation from the State Department on Wednesday, President Barack Obama denied a permit for the contentious Keystone XL pipeline proposal, which would have linked a vast oil deposit in Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. In rejecting the permit, Obama laid blame on Republicans in Congress, who forced passage of a measure late last month requiring the administration to render a decision on the pipeline by Feb. 21. ‘As the State Department made clear last month,’ Obama said in a prepared statement, ‘the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment. As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.’” [HuffingtonPost.com, 1/18/12]

  • Keystone XL Would Pump Heavy Crude Mixed With Toxic Chemicals Over One Of Largest Aquifers In U.S. From NPR: “The difference between Canadian Tar Sands oil and Oklahoma light sweet crude is like the difference between Coca-Cola and cake batter. So to make it easier for Canadian oil to flow thousands of miles south to Cushing, it has to be mixed with chemicals to thin out. ‘They won’t tell us what’s in the oil to make it flow,’ says Randy Thompson, a Nebraskan cattle rancher who’s opposed Keystone XL. He’s successfully spearheaded a campaign to halt the construction of Keystone XL through the ecologically sensitive Sandhills of Nebraska that lie atop one of America’s largest underground aquifers. ‘We know they’re toxic chemicals. So this is a severe concern for a lot of us people out here,’ Thompson says. ‘A lot of us people out here, we gotta drink this water. Be nice to know what the hell they’re pumping through it.’ TransCanada claims that its proposed Keystone XL line will be the safest of its kind ever built. ‘I believe we can absolutely build pipelines with new technology that are getting closer and closer to being leak free,’ Jones says.” [NPR.org, 2/26/12]

Kaine Supported Addressing The Threats Climate Change Posed For Virginia Families And Businesses

Two of the citations the Chamber provides to support its claim that Kaine supports cap-and-trade are testimony Kaine gave before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in 2007 and the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, a defeated climate change bill.

In Testimony, Kaine Described Plan To Combat Climate Change That Included Reporting Requirements For Greenhouse Gas Emitters. From Gov. Tim Kaine’s testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee: “I also recently released a comprehensive Energy Plan for Virginia, which covers all aspects of energy production and consumption and calls for the state to dramatically increase its efforts in energy efficiency and conservation.  The Plan identifies four overall goals, including reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2025, bringing emissions back to 2000 levels.  Soon, I will announce the appointment of a Commission on Climate Change to prepare a Climate Change Action Plan to implement these recommendations. The Commission also will gather information on the expected effects of climate change on the state and identify actions that Virginia needs to take to prepare for the consequences of climate change that cannot be avoided.  The Energy Plan also recommends that Virginia impose mandatory reporting requirements on emitters of greenhouse gases, and I will work with the legislature to implement this recommendation.” [Tim Kaine Testimony, 9/26/07]

Kaine Detailed Climate Change’s Potentially Devastating Effects On Virginia Ecosystem And Economy. From Gov. Tim Kaine’s testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee: “I am very much concerned that climate change could jeopardize the progress we’re making in restoring the Bay. […] We should also be concerned about effects on the Bay’s commercial and recreational fisheries, threatened and endangered species, and breeding ground and migration for waterfowl.  […] Rising sea levels would inundate coastal marshes and other important fish and waterfowl habitats and make coastal property more vulnerable to storms.  In fact, some estimates show that up to 80% of Virginia’s tidal wetlands could be lost by the end of the century. […] Climate change will also affect the Bay watershed’s forests, where prospects for insect and pest outbreaks will increased, which also pose a threat to agriculture.  As temperatures go up, there will also be reductions in crop yields.  For example, corn yields begin to suffer as temperature exceeds 90o F, and corn crop damage can be severe at 100o F.  Increased frequency of both droughts and severe rainstorms can also destabilize annual crop yields.  Because livestock are temperature sensitive, there are likely to be increased labor and maintenance costs to the farmer. Now, let me talk about impacts on the places where we live and work in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  The Virginia Institute of Marine Science estimates that sea level will rise between 4 and 12 inches by 2030.  The Hampton Roads region of Virginia is the largest population center that is at the greatest risk from sea level rise outside of New Orleans. I mentioned frequent and severe coastal storms and flooding as an effect of climate change.  The effects of these severe storms will be multiplied by rising sea levels, increasing risk to life and property.” [Tim Kaine Testimony, 9/26/07]

Five Years Later: Report Affirmed Dangers Of Climate Change For Virginia. From the BBC: “Dying wetland trees along Virginia’s coastline are evidence that rising sea levels threaten nature and humans, scientists say – and show the limits of political action amid climate change scepticism. […] [A]s the salty estuary waters have risen in recent years, they have drowned the trees on the hummocks’ lower edges. If – when – the sea level rises further, it will inundate and drown the remaining trees and shrubs, and eventually sink the entire marsh. That threatens the entire surrounding ecosystem, because fish, oysters and crabs depend on the marsh grass for food. […] Ancient geologic forces are causing the land literally to sink, while the amount of water in the oceans is increasing because of global warming, scientists say. As a result, the low-lying coastal areas – and the towns in it – are at tremendous risk of flooding. […] While politicians in Washington and in Richmond, Virginia’s state capital, have done little to address the problem, authorities along Virginia’s coast have watched the waters rise and have been forced to take action. The city government of Norfolk spends about $6m (£3.8m) a year to elevate roads, improve drainage, and help homeowners literally raise their houses to keep their ground floors dry, says Assistant City Manager Ron Williams. […] At Naval Station Norfolk, the world’s largest naval base, the US Navy is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to replace aging piers with new ones better able to withstand the rising water.” [BBC.co.uk, 6/5/12]

Projections Suggested Climate Change Policy Would Have Little Impact On Household Budgets. From an Environmental Defense Fund analysis of five models used to predict the impacts of climate change legislation: “[W]hile climate policy is expected to raise electricity bills somewhat, the effect is fairly modest. Over the period 2010-2030, the median projected increase in the average household electricity budget relative to business as usual, across all of these models considered here, turns out to be the EIA’s forecast—just $3.30 a month, or about 3.5%. (The average projected increase is $3.15.) Moreover, the electricity bills implied by all of the models fall well within the range of recent experience. For example, the most recent analysis of the Lieberman-Warner bill (by RTI) suggests that households would spend about the same amount on electricity under climate policy, in real terms, as they did in 2005.” [EDF.org, 2008]

[NARRATOR:] What exactly is Tim Kaine’s position on American energy exploration? Yes if, yes but, yes when, and that means no. Kaine claims he’s for American energy exploration, but wants to delay it. Kaine says he’s for the Keystone XL pipeline, but just not now. We do know Kaine supported cap-and-trade, which would have raised energy costs. Tim Kaine on energy: The more you know, the more it sounds like “No.” Vote no on Tim Kaine. The U.S. Chamber is responsible for the content of this advertising. [U.S. Chamber of Commerce via YouTube.com, 9/19/12]