Friday, August 28, 2009

Climate Change Panel Discussion

Higher electric bills seen from 'cap-and-trade'
By Kevin Woster, Journal staff

Cool it on global warming.

That was the call from business, coal industry and agricultural representatives Tuesday in Rapid City during a panel discussion on energy reform. They warned that electrical bills in western South Dakota and elsewhere will rise, and the economy could fall, if fears over climate change lead Congress to push through overly aggressive reform package.

And the heartland of America could be hardest hit, as states that rely on coal, oil and natural gas bear the brunt of fossil-fuel restrictions, Wyoming state Rep. Thomas Lubnau of Gillette said.
“It’s shifting dollars from the center of the United States to the West Coast and Northeast,” he said.

But an advocate for an energy reform package being pushed by President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress said climate change is real,and reform is needed soon. Matt McGovern of Sioux Falls, the state director for Repower America, said South Dakota could actually benefit in jobs and an economic surge through incentives in the reform package for the development of wind power and other alternative fuels.

“This is a great bill for South Dakota,” he said.

“That map is an aberration, and that’s why we don’t use it in our materials,” she said.

Black Hills Corp. officials contend that South Dakota electric consumers will feel a sharp rise in rates under the cap-and-trade proposal, just like consumers in Wyoming and states with great amounts of oil, coal and natural gas production.

Those effects could hit hard in the West River ranching community, where additional energy costs could disrupt an agriculture economy that has helped feed the world for generations, Vale rancher Troy Hadrick said.

“I’m really concerned that this climate change legislation has the potential to change all that, really has the potential to put us out of business,” he said. Read More

One of the things that I was doing this week, and one of the reasons you haven’t heard much from me this week, was sit on a panel to discuss climate change legislation and the potential impact on energy costs. I was there to represent agriculture’s interests on the panel and tried to emphasize to the audience that food production would be greatly impacted. Affordable energy is turned into affordable food on America’s farms and ranches. A representative from Al Gore’s group was also on the panel and one of his statements is quite telling of their attitude on this issue. He claimed that ALL scientists agree that we have global warming occurring so we can quit talking about that. They don’t even want to talk about that anymore, he will only say that we have to curb emissions regardless of the cost and regardless of the impact it will have.

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