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Clock Running On Renewable Electricity Standard, Green Jobs for SD



July 19, 2010

LYONS, Neb. - The pressure is on the U.S. Senate to complete action on a number of important bills before the August recess. Among them is an energy bill that has been stalled since last fall, and an important element of that bill is a renewable-electricity standard.

Chuck Hassebrook, executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs, says even a modest standard could create thousands of jobs.

"The Department of Energy says, if we get to 20 percent of the nation's electricity from wind by the year 2030, it would mean 3,000 to 4,000 new jobs in most of our states. There's not a lot of things out there bringing that kind of new economic opportunity to rural America, so it could be a great thing for us."

Much of the debate has been centered on a combined climate change and energy bill. Hassebrook says it may be time to separate the two and move on the energy bill.

"I think there is a need to address climate change, but if they can't get that done, then I think they need to at least take the first step and do an energy bill."

He says he is optimistic that an energy bill will emerge from the Senate by the end of July.

Opposition to the climate legislation has come from many Republicans and from some states where extractive industries such as coal mining play a major role in the local economy, because of concerns that the legislation could increase energy costs for consumers.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD
 

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