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Friday, January 29, 2010

Ag secretary promotes Clean Energy Jobs Act bill

From an article by Danielle Begalke in The Country Today:

EAU CLAIRE - The Clean Energy Jobs Act is aimed at amping up energy efficiency and conservation, curbing dependence on nonrenewable resources and creating more jobs in Wisconsin.

That's according to Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary Rod Nilsestuen, who expressed support for the bill during a Jan. 21 visit to northwestern Wisconsin.

The bill, which Gov. Jim Doyle introduced earlier this month, implements recommendations from his Global Warming Task Force to address climate change and ramp up the state's "green economy," a Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection news release said.

Nilsestuen visited with Wisconsin Farmers Union members in Chippewa Falls Jan. 21 before speaking at the joint Midwest Value-Added Agriculture Conference and Local Food Summit in Eau Claire.

"With the Clean Energy Jobs Act we'll put together a framework for moving Wisconsin toward becoming a much greener and cleaner state," Nilsestuen told conference attendees.

The proposed legislation calls for 20 percent of the state's energy to come from renewable sources by 2020 - and 25 percent by 2025.

"We consume $16 billion worth of out-of-state fuel for our cars and homes every year," Nilsestuen said. "You can easily see why we want those dollars to stay here in the state."

The secretary said he hopes to see more alternative fuel options become available for farms of all sizes.

"We have about 30 anaerobic digesters in the state," Nilsestuen said. He estimated that each digester provides enough energy to fuel 400 homes.

"We need to make these options more available, to make them sustainable and profitable for small farmers," he said.

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