With unprecedented unity, creativity and political will a congressmen, a senator, the Minnesota governor, farm groups, and environmental advocates joined together at the Midwest Ag Energy Conference to declare that it was time that Minnesota, the Midwest and the Nation embrace a twenty-first century energy system based on renewables like wind, solar, biomass and biofuels.
Democrat or Republican the reasons were compelling and urgent: We must achieve energy independence for national security, rural economic development opportunities, and to reduce global warming emissions.
“We knew that the people of the Midwest wanted action on renewable energy. Resoundingly and unanimously Governor Pawlenty and the Minnesota Legislature are ready to deliver clean renewable energy,” said Mark Lindquist, energy specialist for The Minnesota Project and organizer for the Midwest Ag Energy Network. “Again and again we heard that the future of energy for the nation starts here in Minnesota, the Midwest.”
Gov. Pawlenty (R-MN) announced his Next Generation Energy Initiative calling for more renewables, more efficiency and less carbon. Former CIA Director James Woolsey connected the dots between dollars spent on oil and dollars in the hands of active enemies of America. To begin to solve the terrorist problem we must cut off our addiction to foreign oil and expand production of clean domestic energy resources.
Senator-elect Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Representative-elect Tim Walz (D-MN) called for swift action to facilitate the transition to domestic energy sources, and pledged to make it a top issue.
Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN-7), incoming chair of the House Agriculture Committee, pledged to work with Sen. Harkin (D-IA), incoming chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, to strengthen energy provisions in the next farm bill through an open, transparent, and inclusive process. He expected passage by fall of 2007.
“There has been a real sea change right here, right now on renewable energy. It is clear that substantial advances will be made to increase renewable energy, increase energy efficiency and green building, and reduce global warming gases. This is great news,” said Lindquist.