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Green Jobs & Clean Energy Gains on the Line in Governors' Races

Clean energy standards in Colorado, Minnesota and other states could be weakened

By Stacy Feldman

Oct 21, 2010

Michael Noble, executive director of Fresh Energy, a nonprofit based in St. Paul, said Remmer would have a hard time dismantling the law.

"We built a coalition to pass the renewable energy standard in 2007 that included rural economic development interests, farm organizations, wind developers and ... was joined by all the state's electric utilities and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce," he told SolveClimate News.

"That kind of coalition and that kind of public support would be very difficult for a Gov. Emmer to reverse, should he be elected."

2 Million Jobs at Stake, Group Says

As new energy proposals in Congress have collapsed in recent years, states and regions have been key actors on climate change.

The U.S. House narrowly passed a cap-and-trade bill in 2009, but backers failed to get it through the Senate. The issue of passing a federal RES has been contentious for years and seems a longshot for 2010.

Renewable energy advocates fear that without at least existing state efforts, the U.S. would fall further behind China, Germany, Spain and others in clean-technology manufacturing.

"The states are more important than ever," said Kate Gordon, VP for energy policy at the Center for American Progress (CAP) Action Fund, a liberal research group.

For Gordon and her colleagues, killing state clean electricity mandates without a federal law looks dangerous. There's "a lot at stake in the upcoming election," Gordon said.

Thirty-five states now have some version of a RES. A study released on Wednesday by the CAP Action Fund said these rules combined would lead to the creation of more than two million jobs by around 2025.

The study was based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, American Council on Renewable Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Gordon said Maryland, Ohio and Illinois are three of the states most at risk of rescinding their RES policies, as Republicans pick up steam in those tossup races. In Maryland, alone, the RES could create 50,000 jobs, the CAP report said.

"Republican candidates [in these states] have made clear that they do not support renewable energy policies that are currently in place, and currently creating many jobs in the construction and manufacturing sector," she said.

Other state races could cause even more damage for global warming advocates, Gordon said.

"In Kansas, Minnesota and Oklahoma, candidates have expressed extreme skepticism about global warming's existence and about any kind of policy to move the states forward in climate and energy policy."

See also:

 With 2 Weeks To Go, Green Groups Get Behind Clean Energy Election Push

Renewable Electricity Promotion Act of 2010 Introduced into Senate

Weak Renewable Energy Law Gets Big Push from Steelworkers, Green Groups

Congress Punts on Clean Energy Standards, Again

Study: National Renewables Mandate Could Help Make U.S. Competitive with China

 

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