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Oil Tax Breaks Vs. Renewable Energy Investment

January 17, 2007

Congress this week will vote on a plan to cut more than $10 billion in tax breaks to oil companies and pipeline the money into developing renewable sources of energy. Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum says it should be a national priority, and that it will hit home.

"We can take those dollars and put it towards ethanol, which will make us more energy-independent, more secure, and also support Minnesota farmers."

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar says it's time tax policy stop favoring oil companies.

"They have had record profit years. I don't lose sleep over how those oil company executives are doing. I want to see that money invested in renewable energy in Minnesota. We should be investing the money in the farmers and the workers in the Midwest, not the oil cartels in the Mid East and the oil companies."

Gary Botzek with the Minnesota Conservation Federation says the move towards investing in alternative sources of energy is fueled in part by concerns over global warming.

"Hunters and anglers are sort of the canary in the coal mine. They are observing the changes in the weather and that is affecting their livelihood and their hobbies as well. Most of it can be attributed to coal and oil burning-scenarios. So, for the good of habitat, conservation and for alternative and renewable energy, this is a good step in the right direction."

Botzek adds developing alternative energy has implications for Minnesota, with its wind generation and agricultural potential.

The vote, which could come up as early as tomorrow is part of the House "First 100 Hours" agenda. The plan could meet some resistance in the Senate, and a lot of resistance if it reaches the President's desk.

The bill is HR 6.

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN