2002 Scorecard Vote
Despite the availability of clean renewable energy technologies--including wind, geothermal and solar power--our nation's electric utilities continue to depend heavily on fossil fuels, which pollute the air, land and water and threaten public health. At both the state and federal level, environmentalists have argued for a renewable portfolio standard, which requires a set percentage of energy production to come from renewable sources. Such a standard would clean the air, diversify U.S. fuel supply, protect consumers from electricity price shocks, and spur substantial economic development. In Texas, for instance, a renewable energy standard signed into law in 1999 by then-Governor George W. Bush has spurred the development of 1,100 megawatts of wind power, created 2,500 jobs and generated millions of dollars in tax revenues and landowner royalties. Twelve other states have renewable energy standards in place.
In its initial form, the Senate energy bill (S. 517) contained a provision requiring the largest investor-owned electric utilities to generate at least ten percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. During floor consideration of the bill, Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT) introduced an amendment to raise the standard from 10 to 20 percent--a level that the Department of Energy believes is both affordable and feasible. On March 14, 2002, the Senate defeated the Jeffords amendment by a 29-70 vote (Senate roll call vote 50). YES is the pro-environment vote.
Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) subsequently introduced an amendment to weaken the ten percent standard by replacing it with a provision that would have required utilities to offer electricity from renewable sources only to the extent available. On March 21, 2002, the Senate defeated the Kyl amendment by a 40-58 vote (Senate roll call vote 55). NO is the pro-environment vote. At press time the House and Senate conference on the energy package had not produced a final bill.