Midwest Legislators Work On Energy & Climate Issues
Feb 07, 2006For Immediate Release Contact: Jane Krentz – 612-581-6978
February 7, 2006 Pan Godchaux – 248-723-5752
Additional state contacts follow
MIDWEST LEGISLATORS WORK REGIONALLY TO PROMOTE ENERGY CONSERVATION AND LIMIT GLOBAL WARMING POLLUTION
Calling on the Midwest to conserve energy, promote renewable energy and start taking immediate steps to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, state legislators from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin today announced their commitment to work across state and party lines to address climate and energy issues.
"We are committed to work with our colleagues in surrounding states to address the serious concern of greatly increased carbon emissions from new power plants being proposed," said Jane Krentz, a former Minnesota State Senator. "Acting regionally, we can send a collective message that state legislators are concerned about how we produce our energy, where we site and how we design new power plants, and the effects these decisions will have on our environment."
Krentz and former Michigan State Representative Pan Godchaux coordinate the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators' (NCEL) Midwest activities.
Legislators have introduced several related bills that would promote energy conservation and renewable energy through policies that include: limiting carbon emissions; promoting renewable portfolio standards; tax credits for Energy Star appliance purchases; setting energy efficiency standards for appliances; creating Climate Change Commissions; creating Renewable Energy Funds; adopting California automobile emissions standards; voluntary greenhouse gas registry; and tax credits for carbon sequestration project.
"Working together to conserve energy, do a better job of siting and designing new power plants, and using more renewable energy in our respective states allows us to tackle energy use and carbon emissions as a whole. We can't wait and just hope the federal government or each state eventually does the right thing," said Godchaux.
Between twenty and forty coal plants are under various stages of consideration for the Great Lakes region. Burning coal emits carbon, which contributes significantly to global warming; in addition, coal-burning plants have been major polluters of air and water in the Midwest and nationally.
The Midwest region is home to the largest amount of coal-fired power plants in the country and collectively produces over 20 percent of all carbon emissions from the United States. Globally, all the Midwest states account for 5 percent of all the world's carbon emissions, according to the Environmental Law and Policy Center. The last five years have been some of the hottest years on record, with some of the worst and most expensive storms in history, and scientists are pointing to greenhouse gas emissions as the primary cause.
NCEL is a national non-partisan organization of over 380 state legislators who are committed to protecting the environment. In December of 2005 over 40 NCEL participants from the Midwest region met in Chicago to learn about shared environmental issues and potential legislative initiatives. One solution to addressing carbon emissions that legislators examined is coal gasification technology that offers the possibility of avoiding both problems of global warming and increased pollution, by capturing and storing emissions underground. Today's collective press conferences are the first step toward a goal of working with bi-partisan cooperation with policymakers across the region to achieve important environmental protections.
Illinois – Rep. Karen May – (217) 782-0902
Iowa – Rep. Rob Hogg – (515) 281-7478
Michigan – Rep. Chris Kolb – (517) 373-2577
Minnesota – Rep. Rick Hansen – (651) 296-6828
Ohio – Rep. Kathleen Chandler – (614) 466-2004
Wisconsin – Sen. Mark Miller – (608) 266-9170
Adam Schafer, NCEL Program Director (301) 941-1920
State Specific Stories:
Attachment: List of legislation proposed in each state.