House of Representatives Takes Historic Step Forward on Clean Energy, Passes Renewable Electricity Standard

Bill includes significant global warming, environmental measures

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 4, 2007) – The House of Representatives just passed an energy bill, 241-172, that includes a renewable electricity standard (RES) of 15 percent by 2020, strong lighting efficiency standards, increased incentives for investment in renewable energy, and safeguards to protect sensitive public lands from oil and gas drilling. The House failed to vote on fuel economy improvements. The RES requires utilities to obtain at least 15 percent of their power from a combination of energy efficiency and renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass energy by 2020.  
“By passing the renewable electricity standard the House of Representatives has taken a real step forward in enacting the clean energy policies we need to reduce global warming pollution. This shows the House is ready to take strong action on global warming in the fall,” said Karen Wayland, legislative director at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “We need this same leadership in the conference committee. By combining a strong renewable energy standard with the Senate’s fuel economy improvements, this Congress can make a serious down payment on preventing the worst impacts of global warming.”
Measures that were not included in the House bill but must be addressed in the conference committee with the Senate to make meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment are:
  • Matching the Senate’s fuel economy improvement provision of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.    
  • Adequate safeguards to ensure that intensive biofuels production does not result in water pollution, habitat destruction, or loss of forests.  
  • A greenhouse gas standard that would require advance biofuels to emit 50 percent less global warming pollution than gasoline.  
“America needs the president to sign an energy bill with a renewable electricity standard and fuel economy improvements, and strong incentives for energy efficiency. This will lead to meaningful reductions of global warming pollution and protect our natural resources,” said Wayland.