Coal Country Newspaper Endorses RES By Tom Gray

The New York Times and Los Angeles Times have said a Renewable Electricity Standard should be part of energy legislation currently being debated by Congress. Now comes an endorsement from a more surprising source–the Roanoke Times, located deep in Appalachian coal country.

Entitled "Leaving clean energy to twist in the wind," the Roanoke Times editorial notes the lack of progress on a 19-turbine wind farm in Highland County due to local opposition, and then adds, "However environmentalists view that particular wind power project, though, they should agree the stalled development reflects a worrisome national trend — one that is bad news for the global environment, for U.S. security and, in the long run, for the nation’s economy.

"All depend on using less carbon-based fuel — natural gas, oil and coal — by replacing it with clean-energy alternatives …

"By passing no mandate to cap carbon emissions and no renewable-energy standard for electric utilities, policymakers have signaled to U.S. industry to keep burning fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow, undermining efforts to create alternatives."

While each wind  energy project should be judged on its own merits, the editorial concludes, "Congress and the Obama administration should be steering the nation to new energy sources with policies that encourage development of wind energy and other clean renewables. That’s where the future lies, and America already is late heading there."

In addition to newspaper editorials, the RES has attracted support in recent days from a broad coalition of utilities, agriculture groups, labor unions, environmental groups and renewable energy organizations that includes AES Corporation, NextEra Energy Resources, Xcel Energy, the National Farmers Union, the National Wheat Growers Association, the American Farmland Trust, the International Biochar Initiative, the Blue Green Alliance, the United Steelworkers, the Utility Workers Union of America, Environment America, the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Pew Environment Group, the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the American Wind Energy Association, the Biomass Power Association, the Energy Recovery Council, the National Hydropower Association, and the RES Alliance for Jobs. It has become clear that the RES has sufficient support to be passed by the U.S. Senate if it can be brought to a vote.

By Tom Gray,