Dear Senators Reid & McConnell:

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and millions of taxpaying Americans nation-wide, I urge you to oppose Senator Jeff Bingaman’s (D-N.M) newly proposed energy plan, the American Clean Energy Leadership Act, which forces states to comply with a Renewable Energy Standards (RES) and penalizes those that cannot.

Sen. Bingaman’s proposal defines what percentage of states energy must be derived from “carbon-free renewable” energy, presuming that all states have equal renewable resources and that all states currently produce the same amount of renewable energy. Neither of which is true. Further, this bill directs how states define renewable energy.

This broad sweeping bill shows a shocking ignorance to the varying circumstances experienced from state to state. Certainly Alabama and Alaska do not have the same access to water, sun, or wind, the differences only amplify when comparing all fifty states. For distant Washington bureaucrats to shove RES legislation upon the states effectively attempts to compare apples to oranges.

In what seems to be an attempt to keep the playing field slanted, Bingaman’s bill does not allow nuclear energy to be counted as “carbon-free renewable” energy, despite it being the only source that can be created in all 50 states.  

A reasonable change to this proposal would allow states to opt-in or out of recommended federal renewable standards, and allow states to define what renewable energy is on their own terms.
Currently, thirteen states and the District of Columbia produce less than one percent of their energy from what this bill defines as renewable sources. Further, only sixteen states produce between one and three percent. It is unreasonable to apply universal regulations to all every state, especially given the disparity amongst them.  

If states are not allowed to define their own rules, they will be unable to comply with universal RES imposed by Washington, forcing them to fine electric companies. Electric companies will inevitably pass these increased charges to consumers, resulting in an energy tax. I urge all Senators to oppose even considering this measure.

Grover G. Norquist

cc: All Members of the U.S. Senate

Click here for the PDF.