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House Passes Bill with Udall's 15 Percent "Green Standard" for Utilities

August 6, 2007

Renewable energy could be coming to a socket near you and most other Americans if the House of Representatives has its way. A bill passed the House on Saturday that would require utilities to produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewables like wind or solar by 2020. Colorado Rep. Mark Udall says renewable energy was one of his top priorities in the energy bill.

"In a few years, the utilities that are fighting us today are going to be saying: 'Boy this is a great idea. We should have done his sooner.'"

President Bush has said he will veto the bill on the grounds that it does nothing to increase domestic oil and gas production. But Udall says renewables are the key to our energy future.

"I don't think there's anything more patriotic right now, frankly. If you look at the challenges we have all over the world than to become energy self-reliant. That's the best thing we can do for our country today, next year and decades out."

The energy bill passed by a vote of 241 to 172, including 26 Republicans voting in favor. Colorado voters were among the first to pass a state renewable energy standard in 2004.

Udall believes it is a positive step as a nation.

"This is an important step, and as Americans we've got the capacity and the smarts and the capital to make this work."

The new law would exempt rural electric co-ops and municipal utilities from the renewable standard.

The bill is the "New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act" (H.R. 3221).

Eric Mack/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - CO