Inconsistent? Flip-Flop? Swarthy? I am not sure what term to use, but the Governor has sent a letter to the conference committee members of the Energy Omnibus bill (SF 145) that seems wholly incompatible with his past statements on the need to address global warming pollution.
From his press release in February:
“Minnesota’s electric utilities should prepare for the future by offsetting carbon emissions from new fossil-fuel generation sources,” Governor Pawlenty said. “As we look to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we should not make the situation worse while we try to make it better.”
That sounds pretty good and I definitely agree with him. But, from his letter (pdf) yesterday to conferees:
For many reasons, the moratorium language in Article 5, Section 5 of the House language is unacceptable. This language threatens the reliability and the cost-competitiveness of the state’s energy supply by placing a moratorium on nearly all new major transmission lines and generating facilities. I will not allow these important state advantages to be jeopardized.
First, this statement is inaccurate I believe. I’ve been looking through the bill the House Passed and the word “transmission” doesn’t even appear in that section. It is a section on power plants, not transmission lines. In addition, anyone who wants to build a coal plant would not be affected by this section if they agree to offset their emissions. The whole section also disappears as soon as a “Cap and Trade” program is put in place. What’s more, the House already watered down the section by exempting power plants already under consideration at the Public Utilities Commission (such as Big Stone, which the Governor is on record opposing for global warming reasons).
In short, it amazes me that the Governor would threaten a veto to a bill that includes so many great energy provisions over a little section that implements ideas he is on record supporting.