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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Governors sign energy pact to cut use, build new resources


MILWAUKEE—Midwestern governors and a Canadian premier agreed to two pacts Thursday to reduce greenhouse gases, increase alternative fuel production and raise renewable energy standards.

Other regions of the country, including the Northeast and West, have adopted similar climate accords. The Midwestern deals, brokered by the 12-state Midwest Governors Association, blast the federal government for not dealing with global warming.

"The U.S. federal government has not met the challenge to date of crafting a comprehensive national response to climate change," one agreement says. " The effects of climate change present growing economic, social and environmental risks in the Midwest and the world ... we must begin to take action now."

The governors of Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa and Michigan as well as Gary Doer, premier of Manitoba, performed a symbolic signing in Milwaukee Thursday. Not all states in the association have agreed to every part of the two deals.

One agreement calls for developing a cap-and-trade mechanism to reduce greenhouse gases. Under that system, businesses that don't meet the goals would be able to obtain credit from ones that do.

The plan calls for laying out concrete goals within the next eight months and establishing the cap-and-trade system within a year, with the entire agreement implemented within two-and-a-half years.

Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Manitoba, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin agreed to that deal, according to an association ballot circulated among the states. Indiana, Ohio and South Dakota have agreed as observers.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland believes the federal government should deal with greenhouse gases, not the states, his spokesman said.

South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds said he wants to understand the costs to energy consumers and producers before signing.

"We're not convinced we have in front of us the answers we can all agree to," Rounds said.

Under the other pact, biofuels produced in the Midwest and other low-carbon fuels would make up at least half of all transportation energy consumed in the region by 2025. A third of retail gas stations in the region, or about 10,000 stations, would offer the ethanol-based gasoline E-85 by that year.

Thirty percent of electricity in the region would come from renewable sources by 2030. All new coal plants would capture and store carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, and a multi-jurisdiction pipeline would be permitted by 2012 to move carbon dioxide captured from new plants to a reservoir.

The deal calls for working groups, state officials and gubernatorial and premier staffs to being making recommendations early next year on how to reach those goals.

Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Manitoba, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin agreed to all parts of that pact, according to the ballot. Other states agreed to parts.

"If we continue on with the status quo, we are in serious, serious danger in terms of quality of life," Doer said.

Doyle, a Democrat, praised the deals, saying they would create "enormous" economic opportunity for Midwestern energy researchers and manufacturers.

"Our strong manufacturing base and rich agricultural industries, along with the wealth of resources in our vast northern forests and our world-leading research universities, position the Midwest to become the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy," he said in a statement released by his office.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, said the accords could serve as a national model.

"In the not-too-distant future, we want to see national improvement and we hope the states can lead the way," Pawlenty said.

Minnesota state Sen. Michael Jungbauer, R-East Bethel, called the accords a "boondoggle" and criticized Pawlenty for being part of it.

He accused Pawlenty of focusing on a politically popular issue at the expense of more pressing concerns such as transportation.

"I'm mad as heck at our governor for implementing policies that cost a lot of money," Jungbauer said. "There's no cost-benefit analysis and really what they end up being is huge tax increases."

Source: Pioneer Press.


Senator Jungbauer is right. Gov. Pawlenty has just laid the groundwork for a huge tax increase. The no new taxes governor is no longer that. It is disturbing that a governor would commit a whole state to an agreement such as this. Carbon dioxide pipelines are a mere 4 years away. More and more subsidies will be needed to move toward alternative fuels while cost effective fuels are ostracized. Energy costs will skyrocket. This is taxation without representation.

Government is attempting to solve a problem that does not exist. It is the height of audacity to think that humans are creating global warming. Belief in human-caused global warming is not science, but a religion. Minnesota has now endorsed a state religion with Pawlenty as high priest and evangelist. We will all be forced to worship at this shrine. This is a sad day for Minnesota.

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