Groups oppose Senate rider that restricts states’ Clean Air options to regulate small energy users


WASINGTON DC, Sept. 23, 2003 — A coalition of environmental and business groups Tuesday sent a letter to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the U.S. Senate urging them to oppose final adoption of an Appropriations Committee rider that would block states from regulating small energy users as part of their clean air strategies.

Eighteen member groups of the Sustainable Energy Coalition called upon Senators Bill Frist and Tom Daschle “to strike the … language that would prevent a State government from requiring cleaner energy technology than allowed by the Clean Air Act for small power users [because it] would needlessly tie the states’ hands in using [small-scale, clean] technology solutions to clear the air and deny states the right to make their own judgments as to the best local strategies for meeting their clean air goals.”

The groups further noted that “these technologies are critical to displacing older, dirtier thermal systems, from powering lawn motors to small electric generators. The appropriations language under consideration would needlessly tie the states’ hands in using these technology solutions to clear the air and deny states the right to make their own judgments as to the best local strategies for meeting their clean air goals.”

The full text of the letter and the list of signers is provided below.

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The Sustainable Energy Coalition is a coalition of nearly 60 national and state business, environmental, consumer, and energy policy organizations which collectively represent several thousand companies, municipal utilities, and community groups. Founded in 1992, the Sustainable Energy Coalition works to promote increased use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

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September 23, 2003

The Honorable Bill Frist
The Honorable Tom Daschle
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senate Leaders:

Our coalition representing the leading clean energy trade associations, advocacy organizations, and policy researchers, urges the leadership of both parties to strike the Appropriations Committee language that would prevent a State government from requiring cleaner energy technology than allowed by the Clean Air Act for small power users.

Many states are depending on small-scale clean technologies to reach their clean air goals. The are using system benefit funds, State Implementation Plan funds and homeland security programs to support cleaner on-site electric generation using clean and high-efficiency technologies such as advanced batteries, combined heat and power, fuel cells, heat engines, microhydropower, modular biomass, photovoltaics, and small wind and solar thermal electric systems.

These technologies are critical to displacing older, dirtier thermal systems, from powering lawn motors to small electric generators. The appropriations language under consideration would needlessly tie the states’ hands in using these technology solutions to clear the air and deny states the right to make their own judgments as to the best local strategies for meeting their clean air goals. If approved, this rider may make it very difficult, if not impossible, for states to meet their Clean Air Act obligations, which could affect, and possibly result in the forfeiture of, Highway Trust Fund revenues.

We consequently urge the Senate to support States’ rights to provide cleaner air for their citizens by bringing cleaner and more efficient technologies into the marketplace.

Thank you for your serious consideration.

Sincerely,

Alliance for Affordable Energy
American Bioenergy Association
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
American Wind Energy Association
Bob Lawrence & Associates
Cascade Associates
Clean Fuels Development Coalition
Environmental & Energy Study Institute
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
National Environmental Trust
Natural Resources Defense Council
New Uses Council
Pellet Fuels Institute
Potomac Resources, Inc.
Solar Energy Industries Association
The Stella Group, Ltd.
Union of Concerned Scientists
Vermont Energy Investment Corporation

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