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Energy Bill Brings a Promising Economic Boost for South Dakota

August 13, 2007

Proponents of the energy bill say provisions within the recently passed measure could make South Dakota a major player in steering the nation towards cleaner fuels. Jim Margadant with the south Dakota Sierra Club says the legislation shifts more funding to bio fuels and renewable programs. He says that's good news for a state like South Dakota that has the ability to provide a range of renewable energy resources.

"We could play a real part in providing these sources of energy, particularly solar and wind, and there's being research done in the bio energy field also. That could have a real positive effect for our state and our economy."

Margadant notes the legislation also requires electric utilities to produce 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by the year 2020.

"We are really excited about this. Renewable electricity standards are essential to move this country toward clean energy. Over time you're going to see these companies relying more on wind energy, solar energy and bio energy. And, as a result, the consumers are going to use more and more energy that come from these clean, renewable energy sources."

Margadant explains that over time, it will bring the costs down for consumers because the electrical energy is being produced from less polluting sources. President Bush is threatening to veto the House bill, saying it will reduce oil and gas production in the United States and increase costs to consumers

Margadant was disappointed a provision in the bill calling for an increase in fuel economy standards for vehicles was dropped; however, he's hopeful it will be revisited when the House and Senate versions of the energy bill come together.

"These things are all cumulative, and if we increase those fuel standards and require better mileage on vehicles and less emissions, that also is going to move this country more toward controlling this climate change we're looking at."

David Law/Eric Mack, Public News Service - SD