The Fuse

Energy Policy 2016: Spotlight on Carly Fiorina

by R. Kress | September 22, 2015

Status: Declared candidacy on May 4, 2015

Party: Republican

Career Overview: Carly Fiorina is, to date, the only female contender for President in the large GOP field. Setting her apart, however, is that much of her career to date has been in the private sector: Most notably, she served as CEO of Hewlett-Packard for five years—from 1999 to 2004. More recently, she ran for one of California’s US Senate seats in 2010. While her only other bid for public office failed, she did gain some admiration for her courage to run just weeks after undergoing a double mastectomy and chemotherapy for breast cancer.

2016 Energy Policy: In June of 2015, Fiorina conducted an exclusive interview with The Fuse. In it, she discusses several, key points to her energy policy. You can read it in full here.

Gas Prices: In a February 2015 op-ed that appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Fiorina argued against any increases in gas taxes at both the state and federal levels, noting that lower prices at the pump support economic recovery. In particular, she took aim at two of the major arguments cited by supporters of raising gas taxes: The need to replenish the Highway Trust Fund and the push to reduce drivers’ fuel consumption.

On the issue of the Highway Trust Fund, she pointed out that the gas tax funds highways and projects labeled “other”. The latter includes bike paths and mass transit subsidies. She urges lawmakers to use the fund exclusively for highways: “[The Highway Trust Fund] even subsidized mass transit in six cities: Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington. Moms in minivans from Miami to Seattle are paying for those cities’ subways or streetcars every time they fill up the tank…The Highway Trust Fund should be spent only on highways.”

Fiorina also unpacks the argument that higher gas taxes will push people to dial back on fuel consumption. She cites a recent study from the U.S. Energy Information Administration that showed gas prices having little effect on demand for car travel. “Most families’ gas-related expenses are nonnegotiable, including commuting into work, picking up the children and running weekly errands. Instead, facing higher prices at the pump, families will have to make cuts in other areas—not replacing a broken appliance, dipping into savings and so on.”

Keystone XL Pipeline: In November of 2014, Fiorina appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press. In a conversation with host Chuck Todd about the Keystone Pipeline, just weeks ahead of its passage and subsequent presidential veto, Fiorina expressed her support for the project. “The American people support it by wide majorities. What we are doing today is actually worse for global greenhouse gas emissions than the Keystone Pipeline would be. It would create jobs despite his bizarre statement that it wouldn’t… I think what the Republicans should do is soberly and systematically pass bills that make sense, that have bipartisan support. And Keystone XL Pipeline is one of them. They should pass it.”

In Support of Coal: In August, Fiorina discussed climate change in an interview with Katie Couric. She made several statements that ultimately are not accurate. In particular, her remarks on coal have taken some heat since the interview. “We have to focus on innovation, we have to focus on how to make coal cleaner. Coal provides half the energy in this nation still. Not to mention around the world.” Coal does not provide half of the energy in the US—it currently provides less than 18 percent, in fact. Some reports have posited that Fiorina meant to say that coal provides half the electricity in the US—but either way, the comment does not meet the mark. Coal is falling in dominance every year. In 2015, the amount of electricity produced by coal in this country dipped to 30 percent.

In another statement that has drawn heat, Fiorina continued: “So to say that we’re going to basically outlaw coal—which is what this administration has done—is so self-defeating. It destroys jobs, it destroys communities, it’s not helping us and it’s not helping global warming.” While the Clean Power Plan does create regulatory hurdles for the coal industry, far from “outlawing” coal, the gives states options for meeting emissions goals—including retrofitting existing coal plants to make them cleaner.

Regulation Frustration: When it comes to key energy issues like fracking and offshore drilling, Fiorina has pushed to dial back on regulations. In her interview with The Fuse, she discussed how regulations were holding America back from achieving energy independence: “I would therefore lift the restriction on exporting oil, lift many of the regulations that are now preventing us from investing in clean coal technology and roll back a lot of the regulation that is killing the coal industry. Of course, I would also roll back a lot of the regulations on fracking and natural gas.”

Offshore Drilling: In 2010, just ten days after the deadly Deepwater Horizon explosion, Fiorina made a strong push for offshore drilling. She also said she did not support a moratorium on the practice pending an investigation into the incident in the Gulf. “I wouldn’t say ‘drill baby drill’… [but] if we are serious about growing our economy and lessening our dependence on foreign oil, then offshore drilling has to be a part of that equation.”

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