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Global Warming Solutions Would Help South Dakota's Ag Economy

January 26, 2007

President Bush recognized the serious challenge of Global warming during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday and energy policy groups are hopeful technological innovations will be fast-tracked in states like South Dakota to create solutions. Comments from J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director of Fresh Energy, a Midwest-based regional policy organization that works on renewable energy and global warming solutions.

President Bush acknowledged this week that global warming is a serious problem and now energy policy groups are hopeful Congress will act to unleash new technical innovations to create technological solutions. J. Drake Hamilton is the Science Policy Director of Fresh Energy, a regional policy organization that works on renewable energy and global warming solutions. She says the President's goal of relying on alternative fuels is good news for South Dakota farmers.

"President Bush says we should have a goal that we're going to increase the supply of alternative fuels and that we should set a standard that we're going to get 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels within the next ten years. And especially if we're developing that from what's called cellulosic ethanol. So, using sustainable crops on South Dakota farmland to produce clean, renewable fuel."

Hamilton said they also support the President's request to raise the fuel economy standards for the nation's cars and trucks.

"What it does is say, 'ok, conservation and efficiency are really in all of our interests. So, let's make all our vehicles as efficient as possible.' But what we put in them should increasingly be coming from the heartland of America, from South Dakota farmland."

Hamilton says huge opportunities could be created for South Dakota farmers.

"And I think what's going to drive it is if we have the right state and federal policies that say, 'global warming is real, let's set a goal to get technological innovation to reduce emissions.' So, places like South Dakota that can develop wind power on ag lands and that can develop clean alternative fuels on those ag lands are going to be big winners in the whole national economy."

Hamilton says Congress has taken a strong interest in the climate issue and both chambers have scheduled global warming hearings next week. She says Fresh Energy staff are attending the Sioux Empire Farm Show at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds in Sioux Falls this weekend to meet with farmers and others to discuss global warming solutions.

President Bush recognized the serious challenge of Global warming during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night and environmental groups are hopeful technological innovations can be fast-tracked in states like South Dakota to create solutions. David Law reports.



J Drake Hamilton can be reached at 1-605-726-7562.

David Law/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - SD