Governors Join Hands Urging Washington to Push Wind
An assembly of 29 governors is urging Washington to enact Federal legislation that would mandate electric companies to obtain a minimum of 10 percent of the power they provide through renewable energy within two years. The proposal, allegedly designed to stimulate job creation as well as climate reform, was presented today by letters to the White House and to Congress from the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition.
“Right now, this is about jobs,” said Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri (R).
“We don’t want these things to get caught up in the broader debate and discussion [i.e. global warming] that will only slow us down,” added Iowa Gov. Chet Culver (D), chairman of the bipartisan Coalition, which includes the governors of 29 states.
With national attention focused on health reform proposals, the group is concerned that the Federal government has become sidetracked from the agenda of getting Americans back to work.
“Congressional action on the energy bill seems to have stalled,” said Carcieri in a statement. “It is our hope that these recommendations — and the national bipartisan consensus they represent — will advance the energy deliberations now under way in Congress.”
Other recommendations by the governors include:
- Developing new interstate electric transmission system infrastructure to facilitate access to these resources nationwide.
- Greater federal support for coastal and off-shore wind farms; and
- Extending the Treasury Department’s financing program that offers cash up front instead of the Investment Tax Credit, as well as a renewable energy production tax credit.
“People want more renewable energy. Congress can’t ask for a clearer signal for what works politically than what’s working at the state level.” says Reid Detchon, executive director of the Energy Future Coalition, told the Christian Science Monitor. ”These governors coming forward like this is just one more indicator of public sentiment in favor of stronger requirements for renewable energy.”
Congress does not unanimously subscribe to the notion that the Coalition’s mandate presents realistic objectives. Indeed, Culver has not convinced his own State’s senior senator that the mandate can be reached by 2012.
While Iowan Senator Chuck Grassley (R) claims to have supported renewable energy portfolios in the past, he believes the Coalition has bitten off more than can be chewed. “Probably not ten-percent by 2012,” Grassley says, “I don’t think that that’s possible but I surely think 15% by 2020 is possible.”