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Published on May 12th, 2010 | by Tina Casey


Big Utilities Weigh in on New Climate Change Bill, the American Power Act

May 12th, 2010 by  

Utilities are among those expressing support for climate legislation under the American Power ActIf the early returns are any measure, some heavy hitters are lining up in support of the American Power Act.  Among those issuing statements in support today are Duke Energy Corp., a major utility company which has been dipping into the distributed solar market.   The company’s CEO, Jim Rogers, has also been known to voice criticism of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s anti-science position on climate change.


The utility giant PSEG has been pushing a solar loan program and it issued a let’s-not-mince-words statement directly linking BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil disaster to the need for “a comprehensive energy policy that achieves diversity and puts a price on carbon.”  Not coincidentally, last fall PSEG pulled out of the Chamber of Commerce due to the organization’s denialist activism.  If that position doesn’t change soon, the Chamber might want to brace itself for some more big defections, because it’s not just utilities that have come out in support of the American Power Act.

Support for American Power Act, Not Necessarily for Solar or Wind

As in the case of Entergy, another strong climate legislation supporter, some of the utilities supporting the American Power Act may be liking its nuclear energy provisions.  The independence-from-oil organization SAFE also likes the nuke part but does emphasize the importance of addressing oil consumption by the transportation sector. Shell likes the bill because of its support for natural gas, though people whose water supply has been affected by hydraulic fracturing (a method for recovering gas from shale beds) might not be so enthusiastic.

More Support for American Power Act

Other support is pouring in from diverse sources including solar cell manufacturing leader Dow Corning, which has been busy bringing green jobs to the Rust Belt.  The organization We Can Lead represents 150 major utilities, clean energy companies, and other businesses including Target and eBay, and it issued a joint statement in support of the American Power Act.  We Can Lead is sponsored in part by Ceres, a green investment network that has engaged major players like Levi Strauss, Nike, Starbucks, and many others.

All Those Opposed to Clean Power, Say Nay

Also issuing statements today were the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), which said the bill would “hurt American families and workers.”  No word yet on what families and workers in the Gulf fishing industry and related fields think about that.  As for the Chamber of Commerce, it also issued a statement today and so far it’s not saying much, just that it plans to “work with our diverse membership” to assess the impact of the American Power Act.  That’s a far cry from the Chamber’s over-the-top response to last month’s campaign finance reform proposal but as for a real change of heart, the proof will be in the pudding.

Image: Heavy weight by bensonkua on flickr.com. 
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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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