Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama can sound remarkably similar, at times, when talking about their long-range vision for American energy production: The words clean, renewable and alternative dominate the discussion.
The means to that end are very different, with McCain supporting offshore oil drilling and an aggressive expansion of nuclear power, and Obama favoring heavy investments in renewable and alternative energy technology, and energy efficiency programs, now.
And, increasingly, McCain's record of votes in the Senate is being used to cast doubt on his commitment to even that distant goal of an economy running on the wind, sun and other renewable energy sources.
The Washington Independent neatly summarizes it in a piece about McCain's first substantial vote for the renewable energy tax subsidies that the industry relies on to compete and innovate -- as a rider on the financial bailout bill:
In 2004, McCain introduced an amendment that would have eliminated the alternative energy tax credits. In March 2006, he voted against extension of the incentives. In 2007, the senator missed three votes to extend the tax credits set to expire this year.
The story quotes several solar energy industry leaders in sunny Arizona, and they are clear that they have never viewed McCain as an ally.
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