Sen. Blanche Lincoln recently called the House climate and energy bill “a complete non-starter,” and pledged that the Senate would move more slowly in crafting legislation in order to address the concerns of specific legislators and regions.
Lincoln’s own concerns include potential rises in energy costs and impacts on agriculture. She has also indicated that she would like to see more drilling in a climate and energy bill. “I am committed to examining all options that will lessen our dependence on foreign oil, including incentives for conservation technologies, as well as offshore drilling,” she says on her Senate website.
Lincoln sits on the Agriculture, Finance, and Energy and Natural Resources committees, meaning she will likely play a major role in crafting components of climate policy. On the ENR committee this spring, she was one of several Democrats pushing for a less stringent renewable electricity standard, agreeing to support the RES only after it was lowered from 20 percent to 15 percent by 2020.
Earlier this year, Lincoln voted against using the budget reconciliation process to pass climate policy.
Last summer, she voted to move the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act to a full floor vote, but criticized some of its provisions. She said the bill needed to do a better job of keeping consumer energy costs down and taking advantage of the “strong role” that the agriculture and forestry sectors could play in fighting climate change. She was among the 10 Democrats who signed a letter explaining why they would have opposed final passage of the Lieberman-Warner bill.
Also last year, Lincoln was part of a bipartisan group of senators calling for an energy plan with increased offshore drilling as well as tax breaks for renewable energy.
“I think people really do believe that there’s not a rifle shot that’s going to solve all these [energy] problems,” she told Grist last year. “It’s going to have to be comprehensive.”
“[W]e already have tremendous infrastructure and effort in the Gulf region for drilling,” she continued. “And to be able to mitigate some of our needs in terms of imported oil immediately, expanding some of that drilling in areas where we already have infrastructure for getting that oil out as well as know what’s in those areas, makes sense. … You’re never going to be able to do without oil. What we want to do is displace the amount of imported oil we’re using.”
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