Republicans Drop Renewable Requirement from Energy Bill

A measure that would require large utilities to produce 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2019 has been stripped out of a big energy bill by Republican congressional negotiators. Yesterday, 53 senators, including eight Republicans, called for the provision to be reinstated, but to no avail. In another development that’s making environmentalists unhappy, Republican leaders in the House are pushing for the energy bill to exempt makers of the fuel additive MTBE from lawsuits related to water contamination. MTBE, which is added to gasoline to make it burn cleaner, has contaminated groundwater across the country; cleaning up those messes could cost $29 billion, according to one estimate. “What this does is let the worst of the water polluters off the hook and shift the remediation to the taxpayers,” said Steven Wolens, a lawyer representing cities that are suing over MTBE pollution.