PNS Daily Newscast - July 3, 2020 

Economists say coronavirus disaster declarations may be the quickest path to reopening; militia groups use virus, Independence Day to recruit followers.

2020Talks - July 3, 2020 

Trump visits South Dakota's Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore today; nearby tribal leaders object, citing concerns over COVID-19 and a fireworks display. Plus, voter registration numbers are down from this time in 2016.

Renewable Energy Bill Faces First Hurdle Today

February 5, 2007

A plan to require Minnesota utilities to provide one-quarter of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020 faces its first test today in the House Energy Committee. The bill's author and sponsor, Rep. Aaron Peterson (D-Madison) says wind power, which is showing more and more promise, would be a top alternative energy source.

"The turbines get bigger. The efficiencies get better. Technology changes. It's getting cheaper and cheaper every year, with more output."

The bill's chances in the Legislature may be buoyed by last week's release of a report by an international panel of scientists. It warned that global warming is real, and is having a major impact on the planet. Peterson says that may sway some skeptics to take the issue more seriously.

"Minnesota should be aggressive in keeping doing our share to keep coal-fired power plant toxins and emissions out of the environment, and also in harvesting the economic development opportunities for renewable electricity in the state of Minnesota."

He notes that 21 other states already have renewable standards on the books. A similar bill was approved by a Senate committee last week, and now goes to the Senate floor. Governor Pawlenty has expressed support for reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

In the meantime, Monique Sullivan, Minnesota's field organizer for the Public Interest Research Group says, there are things individuals can do to make a difference.

"There are small things, like using compact fluorescent light bulbs and turning lights off when you leave a room; and bigger things, like reducing the amount of time you spend in your car, carpooling or taking the bus when you can. I know that biking to and from work is hard to imagine when it's this cold outside! But you know, you can look for every opportunity to use less fossil fuel."

Jim Wishner/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - MN