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Pawlenty Calls for New Energy Initiative

January 18, 2007

Governor Pawlenty is calling for Minnesota to become a world leader in renewable energy. In his "State of the State" speech Wednesday, he called for lawmakers to pass a renewable energy plan that will lead the state to reduce its use of fossil fuel by 15 percent by 2015.

"That plan will help us move away from fossil fuels, and it will also help us clean up the environment, but we can do even more. Minnesota can't reverse global climate change by ourselves, but we can do our part and help lead the way. Our energy plan will significantly reduce the amount of carbon we put into the atmosphere."

The Governor's emphasis on renewable energy is getting a thumbs-up from the environmental and conservation community, including Diane Jensen with the Minnesota Project.

"We need it for the environment, for the economic opportunity, for our communities, for national security and we need it now."

Jensen says Minnesota has the resources to become a national leader in renewable energy.

"Those resources include ethanol - both corn and cellulosic ethanol - that can fuel our cars. It includes wind energy, which has barely been tapped at this point. It includes geothermal, it includes biomass, it includes solar. All of these technologies are ready to be commercialized and move forward and all of them benefit local economy in Minnesota."

She believes current energy policies are hurting the environment and depleting the nation's resources, but she notes we have the potential to become self-sufficient, and that should be our goal.

The Governor is calling for 25 percent of the electricity Minnesotans use to be from renewable sources by 2025. He's also proposing development of E85 fuel, cellulosic ethanol and biomass technology.

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN