1) An energy policy for the United States should strive to have energy prices closely reflect total energy cost. This policy should favor least-cost means of providing energy that include consideration of external costs, e.g., as environmental damage, costs associated with a trade deficit, interest payments, or defense costs.
B) Renewable Energy Sources
1) Petroleum and coal are not only principle energy sources, they are also the raw materials for hundreds of products used by modern society. Continuing or expanding their use is unwise. National energy policy should call for conservation of hydrocarbons and should take full advantage of energy-saving technologies and renewable forms of energy, such as solar, wind, and geothermal. The League supports the use of renewably produced ethanol, if the necessary adjustments in fuel volatility are made to prevent increased production of smog and ozone. We also oppose a massive conversion to natural gas for base-load electricity generation, while recognizing its need as a transition fuel until more sustainable sources of renewable energy are available.
2) The League supports increased reliance on distributed generation technologies to meet customers’ on-site demands that use natural gas, renewable resources, and other efficiencies to provide cleaner, more efficient, and competitively priced electricity to customers.
3) The League believes Congress and all appropriate state government agencies should require that electric utilities use renewable sources to supply at least 20 percent of their energy by 2020.
C) Energy Efficiency
1) A major shift in energy policy and research efforts is mandatory. The objective should be to drastically reduce dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear power by:
a) Achieving maximum efficiency from fuel use, including the use of waste heat from power generation and cogeneration from existing industrial processes.
b) Reducing energy demand by educating the public about energy conservation and by changing public policies that promote energy consumption.
2) Future energy needs can be met most economically by more efficient utilization of energy supplies through conservation. Utility rates should be reformed to provide incentives for utilities to invest in improving system efficiency. Also, utilities should be required to enact effective demand-reduction programs.
3) The conservation provisions of a national energy policy should include:
a) Uniform building code requirements for insulation and efficient lighting.
b) Increased use of mass transit in urban areas.
c) Shifting interstate freight from trucks and airlines to railroads.
d) Enacting a Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard of 45 miles per gallon to encourage the utilization of new auto-efficiency technologies.
4) The League urges Congress to support transportation policy that continues and enhances environmental programs, promotes nonmotorized transportation methods, encourages development of transportation systems that use land and energy most efficiently, and rewards long-term planning.
5) The League supports clean-air and energy-efficient technology in automobiles, and urges all automobile manufacturers to continue to improve low-emission vehicles and energy-efficient technology so that vehicles will eventually have zero emissions.
6) The League encourages municipal, state, and federal government agencies transition hybrid and other energy efficient vehicles for all applications where appropriate, and to replace their automobile fleets with such vehicles whenever turnover allows.
D) Electric Transmission Lines for Wind Energy
1) The League urges the implementation of transmission policies and business practices at the local, state, regional, and federal levels that:
a) Maximize the use of existing transmission lines and corridors prior to developing new transmission corridors.
b) Encourage the active participation of affected landowners and communities throughout the transmission planning, siting, and routing processes, including consideration of possible health effects.
c) Support the responsible development of new transmission capacity needed to bring thousands of megawatts of wind power from the rural Midwest to markets.
d) Provide appropriate compensation for all property owners affected by transmission projects.
e) Ensure that wind generation energy facilities have adequate access to needed transmission lines.
f) Encourage the development of both small- and large-scale wind projects.
g) Do not discriminate against variable resources such as wind power.
2) The League also supports efficient transmission of power and encourages use of modern technological methods, as well as maintenance of the present system to achieve higher levels of efficiency.
E) Energy Deregulation
1) Electrical energy generation is a significant contributor to environmental problems, including global climate change, acid rain, ground-level ozone, air toxins, land use, and water impacts. Efforts to restructure (deregulate) the electric industry will have important impacts on the environment. The League calls on federal and state regulators to consider the environmental impacts of the electric industry before approving any restructuring proposals. Such proposals must:
a) Consider the public interests and take effect over an appropriate period of time to assure smooth transition.
b) Maintain environmental quality and stewardship of resources.
c) Maintain existing state-level review of siting of power-supply and distribution facilities.
d) Allow wholesale competition to take effect and require thorough evaluation of its environmental consequences before retail competition is considered.
F) Energy Importation
1) Canadian hydroelectricity suppliers respond to both peak power demands and to general consumption in the United States. These demands can cause expansion of facilities and system operation that leads to severe impacts for northern river basins, wetlands, boreal forests, fish and wildlife resources, and native people. The League opposes the importation of Canadian electricity generated from environmentally sensitive areas, and supports:
a) State and federal review of proposed contracts for electricity between Canada and the United States, which would require new hydroelectric-power development, similar to existing state-level siting and federal National Environmental Policy Act review.
b) State and inter-state review of proposed high-voltage power lines designed in whole or in part to carry imported Canadian hydroelectricity to customers in the United States with emphasis on local generation and transmission alternatives to proposed transmission line projects.
1) Congress should not approve the use of eminent domain to secure coal slurry pipeline routes unless clear assurance is provided that water, air, and other resources will not be impaired by the use of coal slurry technology.
2) Pipelinesto transport fuels frequently pass through environmentally sensitive areas and areas that raise concerns about the safety of homes, businesses, and agricultural facilities. Often there are existing right-of-ways such as railroads and highways that offer alternative sites. The League encourages state and federal regulatory agencies to follow a policy of siting and permitting pipelines near existing pipelines or on such right-of-ways.
3) Finally, the League urges that owners and operators of pipelines that transmit fuel or other chemicals be held responsible for any leak, be held liable for pipeline repairs, and be penalized for failure to do so.
H) Nuclear Energy
1) Existing nuclear power plants should be allowed to operate.
2) No new nuclear-construction permits should be granted until full and satisfactory answers are available to questions concerning disposal of nuclear wastes and cumulative environmental impacts of multiple nuclear power plants.
3) Nuclear power should be utilized only if all other least-cost alternatives have been utilized fully, including efficiency measures and alternative sources of energy.
I) Synthetic Fuels/Oil Shale
1) The League opposes large federal subsidies to hasten the development of a commercial-scale synthetic fuels industry. Such subsidies would hide the true cost of the technology and artificially stimulate premature development of a synthetic fuels industry. Federal leasing of oil shale and synthetic fuel development should be delayed until the environmental and social effects are understood more fully and adequate safeguards are in place to minimize and mitigate the environmental impacts.