Supporters of feed-in tariffs had hoped that “clarifying language” taken from Section 102 of H.R. 2454 (Waxman-Markey) would be included in the stand-alone Renewable Electricity Standards (RES) bill introduced on Monday, September 20th, and supported by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Sam Brownback (R-KS), and others. Such language, they believed, was required in order to resolve the question of federal pre-emption of states’ rights to implement feed-in tariffs specific to their own state, as provided for under PURPA (the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, passed in 1978 as part of the National Energy Act).
According to Bill Wicker, Communications Director for the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, these hopes have been dashed. Asked if such language was included in the new RES bill, Wicker wrote to Etopia News on September 21st that:
"Answer is 'no.'
"This 'clarifying language' was not part of the RES section of the omnibus energy bill, S. 1462. Since we made no substantive changes to that committee-reported legislation, 'clarifying language' is not part of the stand-alone RES bill introduced today, either."
Representative Jay Inslee (D-WA) thinks such language is essential for sound renewable energy policy going forward. On September 22nd, he told Etopia News:
“States should have the ability to develop incentive programs that will help get electricity generated from renewable technologies onto the grid; due to the current regulatory framework this is not possible. Language to address this has already passed the House, as Section 102 of H.R. 2454. We hope that the Senate will see the wisdom in this approach and agree to our language.”
Inquiries to the offices of RES co-sponsors Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), and Susan Collins (R-ME) about the possible inclusion, through the amendment process, of such “clarifying language” in the RES had not yet been answered as of today, Thursday, September 23rd.