This is a new local blog for Florida's sixth Congressional district and watching the actions of Cliff Stearns, the Republican representative who misserves us in Washington. If you are interested in posting at The Case Against Cliff, drop me a line at with some idea of your Democratic and/or progressive credentials and I'll add you as a blogger.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hypocrisy in Action

Courtesy of the Gainesville Sun, here is Congressman Cliff Stearns speaking at the dedication of a new ethanol plant at the University of Florida. The plant relies on technology developed by Professor Lonnie Ingram of the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science:

On a day when he declined to appear at a candidate forum just a few miles away at The Village to allow voters to hear him debate the issues in this election with challenger Tim Cunha, it is puzzling why Congressman Stearns would choose to appear at this dedication. His appearance is puzzling because Stearns has been a staunch foe of renewable energy in his twenty years of radical right-wing Republican voting in the House of Representatives.

At it website, Scientists and Engineers for America examines the voting records of politicians on issues of importance to the scientific community. Their analysis of Stearns' record on energy issues is devastating. In 2007 alone, they document four major votes in which Stearns voted against renewable energy.

In January, 2007, Stearns voted against HR 6, the Clean Energy Act of 2007. According to SEA, this bill would have reduced income tax deductions for oil and gas companies and the revenues generated "would be used for the development of alternative fuels and renewable energy sources".

Furthermore, after the Senate amended HR 6 to include raising gas mileage standards to a measly 35 mpg by 2020, Stearns voted against the bill two more times, including a no vote on its final passage.

In August of 2007, the House considered the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007. As SEA describes it, this bill "would provide tax incentives to promote the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency, including guaranteeing up to $1 billion in loans for the development of biorefineries and biofuel production facilities." Stearns voted no.

So, on August 4, 2007, Stearns voted against a bill to fund biofuel production facilities. Then, on October 10, 2008, he grabbed the spotlight away from the scientists and business people who have brought a valuable, cutting edge technology to our area to take false credit in dedicating a plant he essentially voted against. How's that for leadership?

Finally, in the debate on the Renewable Energy bill discussed above, Stearns also voted against the Udall amendment that called for "retail electric suppliers to provide 15% of their electricity through a rewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) by 2020".

Despite Stearns' "no" votes, all of the bills discussed here eventually passed. That's hypocrisy in action: consistently vote against renewable energy and then steal the credit when a renewable energy production facility is dedicated.

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