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Renewable energy is hot issue for Iowa lawmakers

Iowa Gov.-elect Chet Culver is hoping to make his campaign pledge to pump $100 million into the state’s growing renewable energy industry a reality when lawmakers convene next month. Culver said the state has never had a better opportunity to develop the renewable energy and create new jobs than right now. He’s pitching the idea of the Iowa Power Fund and has said he would appoint a director of renewable energy with a cabinet-level office. He said renewable energy is the issue that all of Iowa, both rural and urban areas, can rally around.

Iowa Gov.-elect Chet Culver is hoping to make his campaign pledge to pump $100 million into the state’s growing renewable energy industry a reality when lawmakers convene next month.

Culver said the state has never had a better opportunity to develop the renewable energy and create new jobs than right now. He’s pitching the idea of the Iowa Power Fund and has said he would appoint a director of renewable energy with a cabinet-level office.

He said renewable energy is the issue that all of Iowa, both rural and urban areas, can rally around.

“Every community can win if we become the national leader and stay ahead of the other states,” he sad.

And he said his win in the November election means Iowans are behind his leadership on the issue.

“People, I believe, like the idea of creating the Silicon Valley of the Midwest. They like the idea of Iowa perhaps becoming the first state in the nation to declare independence from foreign oil,” Culver said.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs said lawmakers will consider a number of ways they can help to keep Iowa on the cutting edge of renewable energy.

The Legislature last year passed incentives... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Iowa Gov.-elect Chet Culver is hoping to make his campaign pledge to pump $100 million into the state’s growing renewable energy industry a reality when lawmakers convene next month.

Culver said the state has never had a better opportunity to develop the renewable energy and create new jobs than right now. He’s pitching the idea of the Iowa Power Fund and has said he would appoint a director of renewable energy with a cabinet-level office.

He said renewable energy is the issue that all of Iowa, both rural and urban areas, can rally around.

“Every community can win if we become the national leader and stay ahead of the other states,” he sad.

And he said his win in the November election means Iowans are behind his leadership on the issue.

“People, I believe, like the idea of creating the Silicon Valley of the Midwest. They like the idea of Iowa perhaps becoming the first state in the nation to declare independence from foreign oil,” Culver said.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs said lawmakers will consider a number of ways they can help to keep Iowa on the cutting edge of renewable energy.

The Legislature last year passed incentives for stations that wanted to install pumps for corn-based E85 fuel. Gronstal sees lawmakers working this year to ensure research dollars are available at Iowa’s universities to develop new sources of renewable fuels, such as corn stalks or switchgrass.

“We can’t rest on our laurels on this issue. If we’re going to lead the world, we’ve got to continue to press the envelope,” he said.

Gronstal wouldn’t predict whether lawmakers will embrace the Iowa Power Fund idea.

“I think we’ll have to wait and see,” he said.

Sen. Thurman Gaskill, R-Corwith, said he doesn’t know enough about Culver’s proposal to say whether he supports it or not.

But he’s in favor of efforts to preserve Iowa’s role in the renewable fuel industry.   “I think it’s something that at this point could revitalize rural America,” he said.

While some leaders are pushing renewable fuels, others want to put the brakes on the development of new coal-fired power plants.

Sen. Joe Bolkcom, an Iowa City Democrat, said the state needs to urge energy efficiency and reduce the emissions of harmful greenhouse gases.

“Global climate disruption is real. Global climate disruption will have a negative impact on Iowa and its economy,” Bolkcom said.

Bolkcom said it is a mistake to build more coal-fired plants in Iowa like the one being proposed in Waterloo.

“Coal is the wrong way to go if you’re concerned about global climate disruption,” Bolkcom said.

Mark Milburn of Elk Run Energy Associates, the company proposing the coal-fired power plant, said the new plant fills a need in eastern Iowa for low-cost base load power.

He said the modern coal-fired plant they are proposing will be “one of the cleanest coal plants ever built.”

Milburn said a niche exists for renewable energy but they can’t meet the need for 24/7 power on a large scale.

“There are growing needs for power in Iowa, and in order to meet those needs we have to invest in the best technologies we have today, which is a modern, coal-fired power generation facility,” Milburn said.

Charlotte Eby can be reached at (515) 243-0138 or chareby@aol.com.

Iowa Legislative preview series

The 2007 session of the 82nd Iowa General Assembly, with Democrats in control of both chambers, convenes Jan. 8. Over the past week, the Quad-City Times Des Moines Bureau has reported on the major issues the Legislature is expected to address. The series concludes today.

TUESDAY: The minimum wage and health insurance for all Iowans

WEDNESDAY: Economic development

THURSDAY: Property taxes

FRIDAY: Tobacco issues

SATURDAY: Hog lots

TODAY: Ethanol


Source: http://www.qctimes.net/arti...

JAN 1 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/6569-renewable-energy-is-hot-issue-for-iowa-lawmakers
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