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Last month Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced a "Next Generation Energy Initiative" that called for reductions in fossil fuel consumption and emissions and incentives to develop renewable forms of energy, including biofuels such as ethanol. President Bush, in his State of the Union address last week, also called for reductions in gasoline consumption and increased support for ethanol production.
In a letter to legislators Tuesday, Pawlenty urged them to adopt his program, saying, "We have a historic opportunity this session to make dramatic improvements in the way we produce and use energy in Minnesota."
Rep. Dennis Ozment, R-Rosemount, said after Tuesday's hearing that blunting the causes of global warming could bring economic opportunities to Minnesota.
Rick Evans, director of regional government affairs for Xcel Energy, said climate change is "probably the preeminent environmental issue" before the public and policymakers today.
Like other major energy and other corporations around the world, Xcel has called for caps on greenhouse emissions that producers can respond to with new efficiencies or in a credit-trading market. But he said such measures would be most effective at the federal level.
He expects Xcel to get behind legislation in Minnesota that would encourage renewable energy, particularly wind, and conservation that would mute demand for more carbon-based energy.
Bill McAuliffe 612-673-7646 firstname.lastname@example.org