One contentious issue is a proposal to require that investor-owned utilities generate at least 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. As The Washington Post reported:
"Democrats … had to contend with opposition to the renewable electricity mandate by lawmakers from Southern states, where officials say they lack the wind or hydropower resources to meet those standards."
Environmental groups welcome the bill. But traditional producers and distributors of energy warn of adverse economic impact, reports The New York Times.
"Thomas Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, called the House vote 'very disappointing' and said it would bring big rate increases to electricity customers."
Still, much of the press comment on the legislation has been relatively positive. "Despite howls from the fossil-fuel industries and their political backers, this new direction is welcome and overdue," The Oregonian newspaper editorialized.
"Nearly half the states, including Oregon, have already imposed renewable energy mandates on electric utilities, so the House bill levels the playing field nationwide. It also includes a grab bag of other environmentally friendly measures such as closing the 'Hummer tax loophole,' extending fringe benefits to bicycle commuters, authorizing a 'carbon audit' of the tax code and funding research on biomass energy."