Congressman Joe Pitts (PA-16) today offered an amendment in the Energy and Commerce Committee during markup of The American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) to allow states to use their own definition of "renewable" or "alternative" energy in meeting the bill's federal renewable energy standard. The amendment failed on a near party-line vote 23-31, with all Republicans in support and one Democrat voting yes.
Congressman Pitts' statement follows:
"Individual states know their resources best. If a state already has a renewable or alternative energy standard, we ought to allow them to define what renewable or alternative means. The best alternative energy for Arizona is not the same as the best alternative energy for Pennsylvania.
"I offered this amendment at the request of a bipartisan majority of the Commissioners from the Pennsylvania Utilities Commission. I am disappointed my colleagues on the other side of the aisle refused to support this amendment and chose to impose a rigid, federal mandate on Pennsylvania and other states."
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have renewable or alternative electricity standards. Many of the state standards include renewable or alternative forms of energy that are not included in the American Clean Energy Security Act. It may be difficult for states to comply with their own state standards in addition to a federally mandated standard.
Pennsylvania is a classic casethe state has approved a two-tiered alternative energy portfolio standard. Some of the forms of electricity generation that Pennsylvania have deemed as renewable, such as waste coal cannot be found in the American Clean Energy Security Act.