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Letter to Senate against weakening energy efficiency standards

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April 10, 2003

The Honorable Larry Craig
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Craig:

The Northwest Power Planning Council is an agency of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, established through the 1980 Northwest Power Act, to balance our region's energy needs with the needs of fish and wildlife in the Columbia River Basin. The Council is required by the Act to assure the Northwest an adequate, efficient, economical, and reliable power supply; it also requires the Council to give priority to conservation as a resource and to work to implement its development.

With this in mind, we respectfully urge your strong opposition to an amendment that might be offered during the Senate's consideration of comprehensive energy legislation [see legislation] that would weaken or eliminate state energy efficiency standards.

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In testimony before the Senate Energy Committee on March 11, a coalition of manufacturer trade associations proposed immediate pre-emption of state authority for certain energy efficiency standards and also proposed to give the U.S. Department of Energy authority to pre-empt additional state standards. If adopted, this proposal would destroy the consensus behind the appliance standards section of the energy bill, a section that incorporates language agreed to by manufacturers and energy efficiency advocates after months of careful negotiations. If the manufacturer proposal were attached to this bill, it would make the section extremely controversial and seriously erode support for one of the few sections in the bill that saves large amounts of energy.

In recent years, several states have established energy efficiency standards for certain products. This movement has gained momentum in recent months with many state legislatures actively considering bills that would establish standards for ten products. The manufacturer proposal systematically pre-empts these already existing state standards and standards for nine of the ten products under consideration in various states.

We urge you to reject this attempt to nullify existing state appliance standards and the states? authority to establish standards. In four prior laws establishing federal efficiency standards, Congress never pre-empted existing state energy efficiency standards upon enactment of federal standards. Congress has never given the Department of Energy the authority to pre-empt state standards without also providing a procedure to obtain an exemption from the federal pre-emption. We urge you to uphold the rights of states to establish their own standards.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Judi Danielson
Chair

(Identical letter sent to all 8 members of the Northwest Senate delegation.)

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