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Monday, March 1, 2010

Green energy jobs are on the horizon

From a guest column by State Rep. Amy Sue Vruwink in the Stevens Point Journal:

As the Wisconsin state Legislature continues to move forward with its legislative session, and the happenings in the State Capitol are fast and furious this time of year, I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss an issue that will affect all of us in central Wisconsin.

The Legislature has made a commitment to Wisconsin's small businesses and to agricultural producers with the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The Clean Energy Jobs Act, state Senate Bill 450 and state Assembly Bill 649, contain various recommendations of the governor's Global Warming Task Force to address climate change and grow the state's green economy through several key measures. These include: Renewable Energy Buyback Rates (aka Advanced Renewable Tariffs), increasing Wisconsin's renewable portfolio standards, which is 25 percent by 2025, establishing and administering an Energy Crop Reserve Program and requiring the Department of Natural Resources to promulgate a rule requiring the reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels sold in this state, also known as implementing a Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

Currently, Wisconsin sends $16 billion out of state each year for our energy needs. If we can start using some of the natural resources we already produce in agriculture and the forestry sectors, we can keep that money here in Wisconsin. We know that other states are doing it, and we know that other nations are doing it. We here in Wisconsin have the ability to be a leader in that economy. However, we all know that the devil is in the details, and this legislation is no different than any other legislative proposal that comes before the Legislature. Elected officials on both sides of the aisle have questions that need to be addressed regarding this legislation, and in the near future there will be meaningful debate. Regardless of the final outcome, we as a state, and we as an agricultural community need to be involved in the decision-making process.

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