Truthcheck.org singled out two areas where the candidates, in this week's town hall debate, may have misled voters when it comes to energy policy.
Barack Obama seemed to have modified his stance on nuclear power:
Obama flatly said he favored nuclear energy embracing it more warmly than in the past:
Obama:Contrary to what Sen. McCain keeps on saying, I favor nuclear power as one component of our overall energy mix.
Previously Obama has been more hesitant. He said at a town hall meeting in Newton, Iowa, on Dec. 30, 2007, when asked if he was "truly comfortable" with the safety of nuclear power:
Obama: (Dec. 30, 2007) I start off with the premise that nuclear energy is not optimal. ... I am not a nuclear energy proponent.
He then went on to say later in the same response that he has "not ruled out nuclear ... but only so far as it is clean and safe." The energy plan Obama released in October 2007 only grudgingly conceded that more nuclear power is probably needed to reduce carbon emissions: "It is unlikely that we can meet our aggressive climate goals if we eliminate nuclear power from the table."
Hard to say what his true position is. An arguably much larger distortion, however, came from McCain:
McCain recycled a misleading claim from Sen. Hillary Clintons primary campaign, charging Obama with voting to give billions to oil companies:
McCain: By the way, my friends, I know you grow a little weary with this back-and-forth. It was an energy bill on the floor of the Senate loaded down with goodies, billions for the oil companies, and it was sponsored by Bush and Cheney. You know who voted for it? You might never know. That one. You know who voted against it? Me.
McCain is referring to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which Obama did in fact vote for. Clinton raised this same charge against Obama during the Democratic primaries. It was misleading then and its equally misleading now.
In fact, according to a Congressional Research Service report, more tax breaks were taken away from oil companies than were given. Overall, the act resulted in a small net tax increase on the oil industry:
Congressional Research Service: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT05, P.L. 109-58) included several oil and gas tax incentives, providing about $2.6 billion of tax cuts for the oil and gas industry. In addition, EPACT05 provided for $2.9 billion of tax increases on the oil and gas industry, for a net tax increase on the industry of nearly $300 million over 11 years.
As we said last year, the bill did contain $14.3 billion in tax breaks, but most of those went to electric utilities, and nuclear, and also to alternative fuels research and subsidies for energy-efficient cars, homes and buildings not to the oil industry.
For more fact checking of the campaign season's many distortions, visit FactCheck.org.
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