Fred Upton Flip-Flop: ‘I Supported All The Alternative Energy Policies’

Jun 12, 2012 by

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 06/12/2012 5:09 pm Updated: 06/12/2012 5:35 pm

Fred Upton

From left, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., take part in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wed., Jan. 18, 2012.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), an influential energy policymaker, appeared to reverse his position on renewable energy in a debate with GOP challenger Jack Hoogendyk on Sunday, telling a Western Michigan University audience he believes in government support for “all the alternative energy policies.”

When asked by a moderator what alternative energy processes he favors and whether there should be subsidies for alternative energy, Upton replied, “I supported all the alternative energy policies, not just Keystone, that’s clean coal, safe nuclear.

“All of these forms of energy need to make it on their own,” the congressman added, according to a transcript of the debate provided by the Kalamazoo Gazette. “We need to support them. We need a North American energy plan which makes us energy independent. I’m convinced we can do that and renewable need to be part of that mix along with the other things I mentioned.”

For anyone who has been listening, that doesn’t square with what Upton has been saying as the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Upton has been among the Republicans leading the investigation of Solyndra, the California-based solar company that went bankrupt after receiving a half-billion dollars in federal loans, saying in September, “I question whether the government is qualified to act as a venture capitalist, picking winners and losers in speculative ventures and shelling out billions of taxpayer dollars to keep them afloat.” Nevermind that he previously lobbied the Department of Energy requesting loans for at least four energy projects in his home state.

More recently Upton mocked what he called President Barack Obama’s “affinity for massive taxpayer spending on more expensive energy sources.” In his op-ed in the American Magazine entitled “Rethinking America’s Energy Policy,”, Upton wrote:

When I first became involved in these issues, President Jimmy Carter told us our domestic energy supplies were running out and a foreign cartel would determine everything from the cars we drove to the temperatures in our homes. The future he painted looked bleak. Consider oil and natural gas. Not long ago, many believed supplies had peaked and it was only a matter of time until we were left with nothing but dry holes in the ground and increased dependence on foreign imports. Based on this belief, Washington decided that American taxpayers needed to spend dramatically on developing alternative supplies to replace hydrocarbons. President Obama continues this policy today. During his recent energy public relations tour, he repeatedly referred to Republicans as subscribers to the ‘flat earth’ worldview because we do not share his affinity for massive taxpayer spending on more expensive energy sources. But if anyone is stuck in the past, it’s President Obama, as he has refused to acknowledge the great potential of America’s energy resources thanks to new technologies that help us unlock them. New discoveries and production of resources like shale oil and gas are dramatically altering our energy supply outlook and the entire global geopolitical landscape. And the pace of change — particularly in the past few years –continues to accelerate.

Upton’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. His statement praising investment in renewables came in the first debate in Michigan’s Aug. 7 Republican primary. More than 150 people showed up at Western Michigan University’s Schneider Hall Auditorium for the debate, sponsored by WMUK and the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Hoogendyk, Upton’s GOP challenger, didn’t comment during the debate on Upton’s shift.


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