Who supports Renewable Energy in Lugar vs. Mourdock Indiana Republican Primary 5/8/2012? May 1, 2012Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
Dear Blog Readers:
There will be a very important decision one week from today facing Indiana Republican primary voters. This blog post features three recent articles to help you to decide who supports the development of renewable energy resources in the State of Indiana and our nation. These articles are just a small representation of the energy debate between these two candidates. It is not my intent to try to present everything being said but rather to implore readers who plan to vote in the Indiana Republican primary to examine the stellar record of Sen. Dick Lugar and the Tea Party rhetoric of his opponent Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock. Indiana has a closed primary process which means that Hoosier voters must declare a political party to receive the primary ballot. This is not the forum to discuss the pros and cons of a closed primary. It’s just a fact and will be in effect next week. What it does mean as pointed out by numerous political commentators, the primary election process tends to favor the extreme elements within both political parties.
Please remember to vote!
Laura Ann Arnold
P.S. Also please see Why Democrats should save GOP Senator Richard Lugar.
25x’25 Commends Sen. Richard Lugar
for Support of Renewable Energy from Nation’s Farms, Ranches and Forestlands
The National 25x’25 Alliance today recognized Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) for his committed leadership in pursuing polices that accelerate the development of renewable energy resources on the nation’s farms, ranches and forestlands.
Last week, Sen. Lugar joined with Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) in drafting an amendment to the proposed 2012 Farm Bill adopted by the Senate Agriculture Committee that would continue mandatory funding for a number of critical farm energy programs.
By forging language in the Energy Title of the new farm bill that would assure funding is available for a initiatives such as the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and the Bioenergy Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), Lugar is encouraging the development of advanced biofuels and promoting other renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in rural America that will create new jobs and breath life back into the nation’s still struggling economy.
The Conrad-Lugar amendment would set mandatory funding totaling $241 million over five years for Rural Energy for America Program and $193 million for Bioenergy Crop Assistance Program. Another $216 million would be required over the life of the new farm bill for the Biorefinery Assistance Program, $130 million for the Biomass Research and Development Program, while $15 million would be allotted for the Biobased Markets Program, and $5 million for a Biodiesel Education Program.
The programs, which have no authorization beyond the Sept. 30 expiration of the current farm adopted in 2008, are zeroed out under Congressional Budget Office baseline estimates, leaving them vulnerable in the upcoming appropriations process. If adopted, Lugar’s amendment would avert the possibility of appropriators setting aside little or no money for programs that have helped revitalize rural America, allowed new agricultural markets to emerge and reduced the need for direct payments to farmers.
Lugar is an original sponsor of the 25x’25 resolution adopted as part of the 2007 Energy Bill signed into law by then-President Bush. The measure adopts as the nation’s goal the attainment of 25 percent of U.S. energy needs with renewable resources – biofuels, biomass, wind energy, solar energy, geothermal energy and hydropower – from U.S. farms, ranches and forestlands by the year 2025.
“We are very grateful for Sen. Lugar’s efforts on behalf of energy programs that benefit farmers across the nation,” said Bill Richards, a co-chair of the National 25x’25 Steering Committee. “The senator’s foresight and legislative initiatives have served to boost the economy and help create and retain jobs in our state’s rural communities.”
Lugar was also successful in adding to the proposed, five-year farm legislation a provision that authorizes funding for a Rural Energy Savings Program. The initiative would allow rural electric cooperatives to provide customers with low-interest loans for energy efficiency upgrades, to be paid back on monthly electric bills.
The latest measures sponsored by Lugar underscore his contributions to the nation’s pursuit of a clean energy future. For more than a decade, Lugar has stressed the strategic importance of energy security and the economic and security risks of dependence on oil. His legislative efforts promote sustainable energy production and use, incentives for renewable fuels like cellulosic ethanol and E85, and increased fuel economy in cars.
25x’25 Alliance | 1430 Front Avenue | Lutherville | MD | 21093
Facing a fierce primary challengethis year from the right, Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar found himself accused Wednesday night of driving up gas prices during an otherwise uneventful primary debate.
Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who would like to topple the long-time senator, leveled the provocative charge that Lugar’s ethanol policies are driving up prices at the pump, now at $3.85 a gallon in the state.
Lugar, dean of the state’s Republicans in Congress since 1977, has long been at the forefront of pro-ethanol policies, including a proposal to make sure that all cars are “flex-fuel” vehicles capable of running on ethanol. But Mourdock charged Wednesday that federal policies promoting ethanol are contributing to rising gas prices.
“Most of us, especially as Republicans, object to mandates from the federal government,” Mourdock said during the debate. “And yet suddenly we saw more ethanol being mandated into our gasoline.”
The federal government gave gas refiners a subsidy to add ethanol to their product, but that policy was phased out at the start of 2012. Instead, the federal government now mandates only that the industry add some sort of alternative fuel, which often means ethanol derived from corn.
Just a few years ago, Mourdock’s stance would have been heresy for a candidate in a farm state. Even though the state actually farms more acres of soybeans these days, corn has long been integral to Indiana’s self-image. Gov. Mitch Daniels and both the leading Democratic and Republican candidates for governor are generally supportive of ethanol. Lugar, himself a farmer, has long taken the stance that what’s good for corn is good for the state.
“It’s a Hoosier product, with Hoosiers producing it on farms here,” Lugar replied to Mourdock with near exasperation during the debate.
But that argument has less and less support from Republicans these days. Politicians like Rick Santorum — who told Iowans he would end ethanol subsidies and then went on to win the state — are finding that opposing industry subsidies is less of a liability. The industry, meanwhile, believes it is finally becoming competitive on its own terms.
Mourdock, who has been endorsed by the Tea Party Express, outlines his stance as a matter of conservative principle.
That plays well with primary voters, said Gary Welsh, a Republican lawyer in Indianapolis who blogs about state politics, and who grew up growing corn and soybean crops. “Mourdock is pretty pure on those issues, and he’s consistent — even if some people may not like that view.”
Plus, Welsh added, farmers are hardly monolithic in their views on ethanol. “To the extent that you’re creating a demand converting food to fuel use, you’re driving up food prices too, so there’s that flip-side,” he said. “For livestock farmers, that means their cost of feeding livestock goes up.”
Mourdock may also be influenced by his work as a geologist in the oil and coal industries. The Lugar campaign has attacked him for holding up to $350,000 in stock in another alternative energy source, coal gas.
“In fact, the price of gasoline is much lower because of the addition of corn ethanol which comes from our state,” Lugar told Mourdock during the debate.
A 2011 PolitiFact report on whether ethanol reduces the price of gas, found that it depends on how high the price of oil is. With high gas prices today, ethanol producers have a better argument than usual that their product actually keeps the price of gas down. But at the same time, ethanol may also drive up the prices of many food products by creating more demand for corn, and have untold environmental costs.
Steve Pittman, director of the Indiana Ethanol Producers Association, quickly jumped on Mourdock’s claims about ethanol on Wednesday night. “I’ve never seen ethanol really go much above $3 a gallon, and right now, it’s trading at $2.25. It’s a low cost additive to gasoline,” he said.
“I just think maybe it’s a situation where (Mourdock) just didn’t understand the facts,” he said. “Senator Lugar understands the facts.”
Sen. Lugar says Gas prices would be higher if not for ethanol
After struggling at times during the early Republican primary campaign, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar sounded more like the legislator he’s been for the past 35 years in a debate Wednesday night with Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock.
But while the confident Lugar often had a better grasp on the questions he was answering, Mourdock showed more poise than the veteran lawmaker. The contrast highlighted what has been an underlying argument from Lugar’s opponents throughout the campaign: He needs to retire.
In all, the two were genial toward each other throughout the hourlong debate, lacking much of the vitriol that has dominated the campaign advertising so far. Mourdock, at one point, blankly agreed with a vague answer from Lugar that government should not be involved in contraceptive questions, saying “I think I’ll do a ditto.”
The candidates’ only debate came as both ramp up their attacks in the race, which has shaped up to be one of the toughest election battles ever for the 80-year-old senator once considered so invincible that Democrats in 2006 chose not to field a challenger.
A strong anti-incumbent mood and pressure from the right to define who really is a conservative have forced Lugar into a frantic defense as he seeks a seventh term, and a series of polls has shown the tea party-backed Mourdock closing in recently.
In one of the clearest distinctions between the two men, Mourdock called for an end to corn ethanol subsidies, something Lugar has routinely backed citing Indiana’s heavy reliance on agriculture.
The two even disagreed on what exactly ethanol subsidies do to the price of gas, with Lugar saying ethanol was helping to keep prices down and Mourdock saying they were making prices higher. Lugar praised ethanol saying it lowers the price of gasoline and helps Indiana farmers.
“It’s a Hoosier product with Hoosiers producing it on farms here that have meant higher values for corn and certainly higher land values in this state.”
On domestic issues, the two men often agreed with each other. Lugar at times sought to ally himself with Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, touting Ryan’s budget plan, which has become a rallying point for many conservatives.
One exchange fairly defined the tenor of the entire race: When given the chance to shore up his weakest spot, by defining how he is a conservative, Lugar opted for a roundabout answer dealing with his family history and serving in the military.
“These are conservative elements of my life and they’re expressed in my votes and the work we have been doing both in the economy as well as in the foreign policy to bring security for America,” he said. “We understand conservative values.”
Mourdock, however, chose a more direct answer that hit on key words and talking points popular with the tea partiers pushing his candidacy.
Much of the debate focused on questions of foreign policy, Lugar’s clear strength. Mourdock, though, challenged why Lugar didn’t support sanctions proposed by Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl against such countries as Iran, North Korea and Syria.
“It’s something that Sen. Lugar, last I knew, was still opposing,” Mourdock said. “He wanted to do that through the U.N. I think there are times we need to act unilaterally to put the pressure on those nations to make sure they understand they know we care about world peace and we don’t want to see those nations develop nuclear arms.”
Lugar said he works daily with Kyl and that the United States leads in trying to prevent Iran from developing nuclear capabilities.
“The real problem is making sure we get the Russians aboard, we get the Chinese aboard, we get others aboard who right now are undercutting those efforts,” Lugar said. “That’s going to require some very strong diplomacy.”
Until this week, the Lugar team had spent most of its money attacking Mourdock for his attendance at state boards, alleging that he doesn’t personally attend enough meetings, and attacking President Barack Obama for blocking construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline out of Canada. But Lugar began the week airing a statewide ad accusing Mourdock of leaning too heavily on “D.C. outsiders” to carry him through the race.
Mourdock struggled occasionally when answering intricate policy questions, meanwhile, that played more to Lugar’s strengths. In one case, Mourdock seemed to errantly state that a federal ethanol mandate that started in 2005 began in 2011.
The debate was a stark difference from a nasty Republican primary battle that has been dominated thus far by questions over Lugar’s residency and his support for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees.
Before the debate, a couple dozen Lugar supporters and opponents lined the street yelling and waving signs as cars drove by.
By Ben Geman – 04/06/12 03:46 PM ET
The Alliance to Save Energy is striking back at an Indiana GOP Senate hopeful’s call for incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) to cut ties with the group.
On Thursday Lugar’s Tea Party-backed primary foe, Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, said Lugar should resign from the Alliance’s board because the group has supported cap-and-trade legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Turns out the nonprofit energy-efficiency group’s president, Kateri Callahan, is from Indiana herself, and didn’t take kindly to Mourdock’s claim that Lugar is “out of touch with Hoosier conservatives.”
“As a Hoosier myself and the leader of the Alliance to Save Energy, we strongly believe that energy efficiency reflects values embraced by all of the good citizens of Indiana,” she said in a statement.
Callahan’s statement doesn’t address efficiency’s role in combating climate change specifically, instead pointing to other values of energy conservation. “Hoosiers value thriftiness, helping one’s neighbor, building strong communities and economies, self-reliance and patriotism. Energy efficiency embodies all those ideals,” she said.
Callahan noted that the group was founded 35 years ago by a bipartisan pair of Midwestern senators, the late GOP Sen. Charles Percy of Illinois and the late Hubert Humphrey, a Democrat from Minnesota.
The group’s board has Democrats and Republicans from the House and Senate.