[Cross-posted at Red, Green, and Blue] While in Aspen last week for a fundraiser at the Aspen Institute, Republican Presidential hopeful John McCain met for breakfast with Texas billionaire oil man turned wind energy advocate T. Boone Pickens. The pair chatted for a few minutes in front of cameras, and then they met privately for more than an hour.
The issue of alternative fuels came up for McCain Thursday as well, during a forum at the Aspen Institute. In the past, McCain has said that he opposes tax breaks for wind and solar development because they interfere with the market. Asked about that Thursday, McCain said he has a long record of support for alternative fuels. Asked specifically if he was for renewing tax breaks for wind and solar that expire this year, he surprisingly said, “of course.”
I say surprisingly because in the eight times the Senate has voted on extending the renewable energy production tax credits and the renewable energy investment tax credits in the past year, Senator McCain has been absent each time. As far as I can tell, that is an 0-for-8 record. Not exactly the type of record that could in any way justify Sen. McCain saying that "of course" he supports renewable energy tax credits. In a statement, Pickens said:
"It was a pleasure to sit down with Senator McCain and discuss firsthand an issue that is America's top priority: ending our dependence on foreign oil, which today is approaching 70 percent...
During the meeting I reiterated the urgency of the situation. I told him that any credible domestic energy policy must reduce our foreign dependence on foreign oil by at least 30% in the next 10 years (on top of conservation that is beginning to happen), must utilize proven and available technologies and be 100 percent comprised of American resources...
While I can not speak for the Senator, my sense is that he was interested and encouraged by the work we are doing and recognizes that citizen education and citizen involvement is key to changing course and actually developing a real energy policy with teeth that will help this country from our current disastrous path."
While I appreciate the sentiment of Mr. Pickens and certainly applaud his push, I hope he is correct in his assessment of the Senator. Because extending those tax credits may once again come down to a single vote in the Senate, and there is a very real chance that Senator McCain would once again have an opportunity to vote on those credits. And who knows, maybe he'd even show up to vote.
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