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Renewable electricity standard threatens energy bill

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said that an energy bill facing a White House veto will likely fail if it includes a requirement that 15% of electricity come from renewable sources.

Grassley, who supports the so-called renewable electricity standard, said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's insistence on including renewables in electricity could kill the bill. It's the main reason for a threatened veto, he said, and he isn't certain there would be enough Republican votes for it in the Senate to end debate on the bill.

"I'm not opposed to it and I will vote for it. It's not a problem in Iowa," Grassley said of the requirement to generate some electricity with wind and solar power. But for electric utilities in the Southeast, where wind energy is less reliable, the legislation would create problems, he said.

Grassley also criticized environmental groups that are pushing for the renewable electricity standard. Even without it, the energy bill would require the use of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022 and would mandate higher fuel efficiency in automobiles. Environmental groups ought to be pleased with those parts of the energy bil "and take three-fourths of a loaf rather than no loaf at all," he said.

If the renewable electricity standard stalls the bill in Congress this year, Grassley thinks it will be much harder to pass an energy bill in 2008, an election year. And he doesn't think an energy bill with the electricity standard would have enough votes to override a presidential veto.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said that an energy bill facing a White House veto will likely fail if it includes a requirement that 15% of electricity come from renewable sources.

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