Statement from The Wilderness Society President William H. Meadows on Renewable Energy Legislation

Sep 21, 2010

The following statement was issued today by William H. Meadows, President of The Wilderness Society in response to a bipartisan bill to create a national renewable electricity standard, introduced by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (N.M.) .

“We applaud Chairman Bingaman’s strong commitment to enacting a national renewable electricity standard and welcome today’s announcement as an urgently-needed first step. America must signal that we are serious about making the transformative investments required to transition away from the electricity sources primarily responsible for global warming pollution. A standard is an essential component of a comprehensive clean energy strategy that will drive economic growth, create new jobs, and establish the United States as the global leader in the clean energy industry.

“A standard will be most effective if it grows generation beyond the status quo, and only of energy resources that are truly renewable. Moreover, new generation facilities must be constructed in places most suitable for the renewable technologies. In particular, EPA has identified more than 11,000 former trade and industry centers that could have solar, wind, or geothermal facilities sited on them. Reusing these idle lands for renewable energy development means less pressure to develop uncontaminated natural areas and open space, and also means less need for new transmission lines and rights-of-way.

“We are hopeful that Senator Lautenberg’s Cleanfields Act (S. 3329) can be incorporated, which allows utilities to receive triple the amount of renewable energy credits for generating renewable energy on a brownfield site. This helps utilities meet their RES requirements, but also steers those renewable energy projects to places that are already disturbed.”