Saturday, August 4, 2007

Reaching Too Far

Mark Udall sponsored an amendment to require utilities across the nation to get 20% of their power from renewables by 2020. He wants to restrict the definition of "renewable" to wind power (though not in Ted Kennedy's play place, Martha's Vineyard), and solar energy.

The bill was supposed to come to the House floor last night. It didn't. The goals have been cut to 15% by 2020 in committee and still it can't get a simple majority. Because the majority whip, James Clyburn, D-S.C., opposes the bill, Mark Udall and his cousin Tom have been acting as whips for the amendment.

CNN Money reports:

The speaker said the main cosponsors of the renewable energy standard, or RES -- Mark Udall, D-Co., and Tom Udall, D-N.M. - were still whipping up support Friday afternoon.

"They'll be reporting back to me this afternoon," she told reporters in a press conference, adding, "They felt pretty strong about it - that they had strong votes - but I count votes differently..."

[ Nancy ] Pelosi, D-Calif., Friday indicated, however, that the Renewable Electricity Standard amendment would likely be withdrawn if the proposal doesn't garner enough support to pass a simple majority of the House...

Make no mistake, this author favors a reasonable renewable energy power goal, but it should be a goal, and not an unreachable standard set in law. Different areas in Colorado claim to get 300 to 360 days of sunshine a year. Other states aren't so lucky. Likewise, the arid west can be more windy than other, more humid areas of the country.

The Udall cousins, and their ally John Salizar discovered this week that they couldn't stuff an extreme 20% "standard" down the throat of the most liberal Congress in 20 years. It remains to be seen if they have the votes to get a still unreachable 15% "standard." We will know shortly, perhaps today.

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