Friday, July 01, 2011

No National Clean Energy Standard Anytime Soon

Need another reason to loathe Congress? Here's a good one:

A top aide to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Thursday that Murkowski and Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) have a "bedrock" disagreement over President Obama's proposal to mandate a major expansion of low-carbon power generation.

Obama is pushing a "clean energy standard" (CES) that would require power companies to jointly supply 80 percent of U.S. electricity from "clean" sources like nuclear, renewables and natural gas by 2035.

But McKie Campbell, Murkowski's staff director, said Thursday that Bingaman and Murkowski are at odds over Murkowski's view that a CES should replace federal greenhouse gas regulations, and said he does not see a path forward.

Not sure why a CES would have to replace EPA regulations, unless this is part of the Republican plan to get rid of the EPA altogether. Who knows. By making this a "clean" standard (as opposed to a "renewable" standard), the White House is already showing flexibility on how the goal could be reached - but as you know, Republicans aren't being very flexible nowadays.

I guess Plan B is to keep encouraging at the state level. The patchwork of different targets and regulations is creating difficulty and confusion for business and an uneven playing field when it comes to job creation, but it's the best we can do with a bad situation.