Bennet Votes to Protect Clean Air Act, Signs on to Bill Calling for National RES

Clean Air Act Amendments Would've Weakened Landmark Law, Jeopardized Public Health

Washington, DC –Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today voted against weakening the Clean Air Act, undermining fuel efficiency standards, and hurting Colorado clean energy companies. Today Bennet also cosponsored a 25x25 Renewable Energy Standard bill to replicate Colorado’s highly touted clean energy model across the country.   

“The Clean Air Act is one of our nation's strongest and most effective pieces of legislation, and for more than 40 years we have seen that protecting the air we breathe does not have to come at a cost to the national economy,” Bennet said. “The Clean Air Act has been successful in reducing dozens of different pollutants, protecting the air we breathe, the public’s health and environment for millions of Americans.  Today’s amendments would have weakened the Clean Air Act, increased our dependence on foreign oil and stifled Colorado’s growing clean energy industry.”

The 25 by 25 national RES bill, which was introduced by Senators Mark Udall and Tom Udall, would set a requirement that 25 percent of the nation’s electricity be generated from renewable sources by 2025, starting with 6 percent in 2013 and gradually increasing over the following years.  The bill calls for electricity suppliers to retail customers to generate a set proportion of their electric supply from renewables, such as the sun or the wind.  The bill rapidly ramps up clean, domestic sources of electricity by requiring the gradual increase in the amount of renewable energy utilities produce.

“Colorado’s robust renewable energy standard has already helped spark entrepreneurship, innovation and job creation,” Bennet said. “Across Colorado, I’ve met with small business owners and renewable energy companies that are tapping into the potential of clean, renewable energy sources to create jobs across our state.”

The bill exempts utilities selling less than 4 million megawatt hours per year.  Qualifying renewables include wind, solar, ocean, geothermal, biomass, landfill gas, incremental hydropower, hydrokinetic, new hydropower at existing dams, and waste-to-energy.

Under the bill, utilities would produce the specified amount of electricity or efficiency savings; purchase renewable energy or efficiency savings; purchase renewable energy credits or energy efficiency credits from entities that have an excess; or make alternative compliance payments.