Jul 22, 2021 - Energy & Environment

U.S. Chamber of Commerce lays out clean energy standard plan

Photo illustration of the K Street street sign in DC.
Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is laying out what it wants to see in Democrats' brewing push to mandate escalating amounts of zero-carbon electricity.

Why it matters: The K Street powerhouse is closer to Republicans, but its views could influence some moderate Democrats, so that's important given Democrats' razor-thin Capitol Hill margins.

Driving the news: The Chamber explained its posture on a "clean energy standard" (CES) in a letter to lawmakers that comes as the White House and Congress hope to move a CES in a reconciliation package.

  • One noteworthy part: It wants "partial credit for electricity generation resources that feature a reduced (rather than zero) carbon footprint."
  • That means, among other things, natural gas, which emits far less CO2 when burned than coal.

Yes, but: "This conflicts with the path sought by Democrats working on a CES such as Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota, who has said natural gas should only be credited if plants are equipped with carbon capture technologies," notes the Washington Examiner, which first reported on the letter.

Elsewhere, the Chamber letter says the CES should "insulate" existing power plants from "conflicting" regulations and provide a "realistic" timeframe for emissions cuts.

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