Despite all the apocalyptic yelling about how the Clean Power Plan will bring the US economy to its needs, the real problem is that the goals are not ambitious enough. Here in Minnesota, the risk is that agencies like the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Commerce will tell the governor that we can hit our goals largely by staying the current course and without forcing any major changes, and the temptation will be great to declare victory.
Hitting the Clean Power Plan goals would not be "victory" for Minnesota. As most of our energy leaders repeat over and over again, Minnesota's competitive future depends in large part on moving away from imported fossil fuels as rapidly as possible. Apparently some of our energy leaders don't believe their own rhetoric,however, because instead of using the Clean Power Plan as a stepstool to get where we need to go, they too quickly get focused on complaining that Minnesota has to do more than its share, that other states are getting off too easily, that we aren't getting enough credit for all the good work we've already done, and that the goals are too hard and we need more time, and so on. It may be good, short-term politics to celebrate getting over a bar that you have successfully lowered, but the public should not let politicians get away with it.
Energy economists continue to warn that major new fossil fuel investments are likely to lead to "stranded assets," and disruptive company collapses. This reinforces the view I certainly share, which is that the transition to renewable energy is going to happen, it's just a matter of whether we make the transition smartly and smoothly or not.
New issue alert from the Center for Progressive Reform on the Congressional majorities' growing use of anti-regulatory policy riders in must-pass budget bills. They add up the cost in premature deaths, heart attacks, asthma attacks, and missed school and work days. Of course, late additions of bad policy riders was the heart of the controversy over the environment bill in this year's Minnesota legislature.
Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
26 East Exchange Street, Suite 206
St. Paul, MN 55101 | (651) 223 - 5969