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Plan to Generate Energy Could Generate Thousands of Jobs in South Dakota

March 3, 2008

Rapid City, SD – A state conservation group says thousands of jobs could be generated in South Dakota with the passage of an alternative energy stimulus plan that encourages more solar, wind and ethanol production.

Jim Margadant with the South Dakota Sierra Club says the legislation, which cleared the U.S. House last week and next heads to the Senate, is supported by the "Blue-Green Alliance," a partnership of the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club. He says the right investments in renewable energy would create thousands of new jobs for the state.

"South Dakotans should be in favor of this. It's going to save them some money and a recently released 'Blue/Green Alliance' report shows that with support of our renewable energy industry we'd be looking at creating about 820,000 new jobs. And the report estimates South Dakota would be getting about 3,500 of those new jobs."

The proposed law would pay for the tax credits in part by cutting tax incentives to oil companies. Critics say that's a bad idea at a time when the nation isn't producing enough and importing large amounts of oil. But Margadant says the nation should reduce its dependence on foreign oil with a strong clean energy policy. He believes South Dakota could be a national leader in wind power generation.

"The potential for wind sites in this state is amazing. We could generate a lot of energy right here. But it's going to take quite a bit of creative financing, and extending these tax credits is a strong step forward."

Margadant is hopeful the state's Congressional delegation will remain supportive of the alternative energy stimulus plan when it comes up for consideration later this week in the Senate.

More information about the study is available online at www.sierraclub.org.

David Law/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - SD