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March 1, 2012 

Bingaman Clean Energy Standard Restarts Dialogue on Need for More Clean Energy

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, released a bill today that would create a clean energy standard, which the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) called “a welcome step.” 

Below is a statement from Angela Anderson, Climate and Energy Program director at UCS.

“Chairman Bingaman has turned a proposal by President Obama into legislation that is a welcome step toward moving the U.S. away from its reliance on coal and toward renewable and other low carbon energy. Chairman Bingaman has been the Senate’s stalwart champion for a clean energy future.  He is to be commended for forging this new approach.

“Unfortunately, special interests may use this occasion to accelerate baseless claims about the economic impact of energy mandates. Study after study has shown that dramatically increasing our use of renewable energy like wind, solar, geothermal and biomass is a quick, affordable and effective way to create jobs and reduce carbon and other air pollutants. 

“Renewable energy is delivering more power than ever and is one of our nation’s true manufacturing success stories. By the end of last year, the wind industry alone reported installing over 6,800 megawatts, growing 31 percent over the previous year and representing approximately $14 billion in new investment. More than 400 wind turbine manufacturing facilities in 43 states produce over 60 percent of the components installed in the U.S.

“We remain concerned that giving tradable credits to mature industries like natural gas and nuclear power would dilute the clean energy standard and reduce the amount of renewables deployed in the near term. All economic reports indicate that the natural gas industry is doing very well and does not need the incentives contained in this bill. When combined with the concerns around hydraulic fracturing and fugitive emissions, there are plenty of reasons to reconsider these provisions.

“Energy efficiency is our cheapest and most readily available energy source. For technical reasons, the legislation could not accommodate the full suite of energy efficiency measures, but we welcome the inclusion of combined heat and power systems that hold so much promise for energy savings – particularly in the manufacturing-rich section of the Midwest.     

“Given the stalemates that have plagued this Congress, the Clean Energy Standard faces an uncertain future. When Congress is ready to put aside polarizing politics, this bill could re-start the conversation about an energy policy that will create jobs, reduce carbon pollution and save consumers money on energy bills.”

 

 

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

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