Mark UdallMark UdallSen. Mark Udall is considered a likely “yes” vote for a climate bill in the Senate, though he wants to see more support for nuclear power and natural gas.

In this letter to Grist reader Matthew Ott in Colorado, Udall doesn’t mention climate legislation specifically, but he calls for a strong renewable energy standard.  He also touts his support for development of carbon-capture-and-storage technology for coal-fired power plants.

Dear Matthew,

Thank you for contacting me about renewable energy. I appreciate your taking the time to share your specific thoughts about this subject.

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I strongly support reducing our country’s dependence on fossil fuels, and I support steps toward greater use of renewable energy sources. Renewable energy technologies stimulate the private sector, add jobs, reduce our reliance on imported oil, and have a positive impact on air and water quality. Several years ago, in Colorado, I worked with then-Speaker of the House Lola Spradley, a Republican, to support passage of Amendment 37, which established a renewable electricity production standard (RES) requiring that utilities produce a certain amount of renewable energy. That amendment was so popular that Governor Bill Ritter and the Colorado legislature increased the RES to require that 20 percent of the state’s electricity be produced by renewable energy resources by 2020.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, I worked to promote renewable energy technology and investment while serving as co-chair of the 217-member Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus. I have also been a strong supporter of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and other critical tax incentives that allow Coloradans to benefit from renewable energy advances.  Moreover, I believe that we must work to produce all energy in a more environmentally-friendly way. That is why I support development of carbon capture and storage technology for coal-fired power plants and authored a provision in the 2007 energy bill which promoted research into this technology.

Increasing our renewable energy use will not solve all of our country’s energy problems, but in Colorado with the sun in the San Luis Valley, the wind on the Eastern Plains, and the brain power at our top-notch universities, we are positioned to be the national leader on this important front. I recently co-sponsored a bill on the RES, S. 433, which would require the nation’s utilities to draw 25  percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025. As a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I worked with the bipartisan committee to draft a comprehensive energy bill that the Senate will hopefully vote on later this year. The bill that passed out of the Committee was not as strong as I would have like, especially with regards to the RES, but I believe it is a step in the right direction and will continue to work to strengthen the legislation when it comes to the Senate floor.

This is an important moment for our country. We are poised to reclaim our role as the world leader in addressing the problem of global warming and promoting renewable energy, while working to boost our economy.

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Climate CitizensTrack the climate debate and take actionI will continue to listen closely to what you and other Coloradans have to say about matters before Congress, the concerns of our communities, and the issues facing Colorado and the nation.  My job is not about merely supporting or opposing legislation; it is also about bridging the divide that has paralyzed our nation’s politics.  For more information about my positions and to learn how my office can assist you, please visit my website at

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