CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post relied on a flawed transcript. This post has been updated to reflect what was actually said. HuffPost regrets the error.
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.
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," according to an early transcript of the debate provided by the Kalamazoo Gazette.
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. Turns out that's because the transcript was incorrect. An updated transcript shows Upton actually said, "I support an all of the above energy policy, so that’s not only just Keystone, that’s not only just drilling, that's clean coal, that's safe nuclear."
An "all of the above energy strategy," as Upton meant it, is one that allows all forms of energy to compete without the government artificially putting a thumb on the scale, a GOP Energy and Commerce spokesman told The Huffington Post on Tuesday night. Such initiatives, the spokesman added, are best supported by cutting red tape and making sure government doesn't get in the way of any form of energy development. That's a far cry from praising investment in renewables. The Kalamazoo Gazette's transcript has since been updated.
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 statement came in the first debate in Michigan's Aug. 7 Republican primary. Video of the debate is available here.