Letter Opposing Bingaman Amendment to S. 1419, the "Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007"
June 13, 2007
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, urges you to oppose an amendment expected to be offered by Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Bingaman to establish a federally mandated renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to S. 1419, the "Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007." The Chamber understands such legislation will require utilities to generate at least 15 percent of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020, or else purchase credits from the federal government or other companies. A mandatory RPS could raise electricity prices for all consumers, result in a wealth transfer among states, and impose new burdens on the reliability of the nation's electric grid.
The amendment's one-size-fits-all mandate fails to take into account two critical factors: (1) the U.S. is made up of fifty individual states, not all of which possess enough renewable power capability to meet a 15 percent RPS; and (2) the 20 states able to meet this standard have already implemented renewable power programs on their own. A federal RPS will force those states lacking adequate renewable resources to purchase credits from the federal government—essentially a direct tax on electricity used by businesses and other consumers, driving up energy costs, and hurting economic growth. Moreover, the federal mandate will undercut and/or preempt existing programs in the states that have imposed their own RPS.
Energy costs are a significant factor to American businesses and for American competitiveness, and renewables are an important part of the mix of energy sources required to promote economic growth and general prosperity. However, renewable generation sufficient to meet an unrealistic 15-percent mandatory federal requirement is neither cost-effective nor achievable nationwide.
The Chamber strongly urges you to protect businesses and the nation's economy by voting against Chairman Bingaman's planned amendment to add a federally mandated RPS to S. 1419. The Chamber may consider votes on, or in relation to, this issue in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten