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Midwest Governors Agree To Fight Global Warming

November 16, 2007

Milwaukee, WI – Governor Pawlenty is among the Midwest governors who have inked a "new deal." They've signed an agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions and promote renewable energy, at a regional climate change meeting in Milwaukee. Pawlenty says it strikes a good balance between environmental and economic needs.

"We are all in favor of improving the environment, improving our energy outlook. We want to use this also to stimulate economic development, but we can't do it in a way that wrecks our economy or makes the Midwest uncompetitive."

Provisions of the plan include better tracking of emissions and setting targets for greenhouse gas reduction. The governors say the Midwest can be a national leader in producing and using renewable energy. Pawlenty adds, while there may have to be some adjustments to bring some states into compliance with the new standards, the agreement could pay big dividends for the region.

"We hope, not only to become the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy, but the Silicon Valley of renewable energy in terms of new capital investment, new venture capital, new entrepreneurial activity, new jobs, and the like."

Bill Grant with the Izaak Walton League in Minnesota helped draw up the agenda. He says the plan will be good for the environment and help put the region on the energy map.

"The Midwest is home to some of the best renewable energy sources in the country. Due to our manufacturing base, the energy-efficiency opportunities here in the region are quite robust. There are opportunities to develop technologies to use coal more cleanly and without the global warming gases that we're trying to avoid."

The agreement includes a "market-driven" provision that lets states with higher greenhouse gas emissions buy credits from those with fewer emissions, so that together, the states meet the overall goals.

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN