Ethanol -- Tracking the Presidential Candidates: Hillary Clinton

by: Konrad Imielinski

Beginning today I will be analyzing several of the prospective 2008 presidential candidates and their positions on ethanol. Hillary Clinton is first on the chopping block:

It seems that Senator Hillary Clinton has shaped herself as a prominent advocate of ethanol. Just a week ago she visited Democratic voters in Iowa whose caucuses launch the 2008 presidential nominating process. During her visit, Senator Clinton spoke out strongly in favor of boosting the production of ethanol in hope to garner votes from the pro-ethanol state. Not too long ago, she also introduced a “Strategic Energy Fund” that would help pay for clean energy transition, including the production of cellulosic ethanol, by placing a tax fee on major oil company profits. But before this “pro-ethanol” bout, she was ironically an adamant skeptic as documented in her voting records:

  • Hillary voted NO on the ANWR Revenues Amendment -- “To provide funding for implementing the Energy Policy Act of 2005.” Date: 03/16/2006
  • Hillary voted NO on the Energy Policy Act of 2005 -- “To ensure jobs for our future with secure, affordable, and reliable energy. The bill requires a gradual increase of the amount of ethanol that is added to gasoline from four billion gallons in 2006 to a minimum of seven and a half billion gallons by 2012.” Date: 07/29/2005
  • Hillary voted NO on the Environmental Effects Caused by Ethanol Amendment -- “To ensure that ethanol is treated like all other motor vehicle fuels and that taxpayers and local governments do not have to pay for environmental damage caused by ethanol. Maintains the requirement that refiners phase MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) out of gasoline production, and in its place produce 8 billion gallons of renewable fuels, such as cellulosic biomass ethanol and biodiesel, per year by 2012.” Date: 06/14/2005
  • Hillary voted NO on the Energy Omnibus Bill -- “To enhance energy conservation and research and development, to provide for security and diversity in the energy supply for the American people, and for other purposes.” Date: 07/31/2003
  • Hillary voted NO on the Securing ’s Future Energy (Sage) Act of 2001 -- “To enhance energy conservation, research and development and to provide for security and diversity in the energy supply for the American people, and for other purposes.”

H Clinton Ethanol Speech

It was noted that she had voted a total of 17 times against measures promoting ethanol production. Senator Clinton even stated in 2002 that “there is no sound public policy reason for mandating the use of ethanol.” So why would she support it all of a sudden? Is it because her concerns of ethanol have been alleviated? Or maybe by “flip-flopping” she can garner more votes in states like Iowa. The question is: Is she really an ethanol advocate, or flip-flopper?