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In 2007, Julianne Ortman voted for the Next Generation Energy Act, aka the NGEA. The vote was 59-5. Here’s one of the requirements of the NGEA:

The plan must determine the feasibility, assess the costs and benefits, and recommend how the state could adopt a regulatory system that imposes a cap on the aggregate air pollutant emissions of a group of sources, requires those subject to the cap to own an allowance for each ton of the air pollutant emitted, and allows for market-based trading of those allowances. The evaluation must contain an analysis of the state implementing a cap and trade system alone, in coordination with other states, and as a requirement of federal law applying to all states. The plan must recommend the parameters of a cap and trade system that includes a cap that would prevent significant increases in greenhouse gas emissions above current levels with a schedule for lowering the cap periodically to achieve the goals in subdivision 1 and interim goals recommended under paragraph (a).

This sentence jumps off the page:

The plan must recommend the parameters of a cap and trade system that includes a cap that would prevent significant increases in greenhouse gas emissions above current levels.

I’ll stipulate that this vote was taken long before then-Sen. Obama made his infamous comments about his Cap & Trade bill:

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

Still, policymakers knew that Cap & Trade would significantly increase the price of electricity. Sen. Ortman voted for a bill that a) imposes a cap on greenhouse gases and b) increased the cost of generating electricity. How is that the right thing to do? At the time, did Sen. Ortman think this bill would make life better for the average Minnesotan?

The NGEA didn’t just raise the price of electricity. It created a significant burden for energy transmission companies:

The plan must include recommendations for improvements in the emissions inventory and recommend whether the state should require greenhouse gas emissions reporting from specific sources and, if so, which sources should be required to report.

In other words, the NGEA increased compliance costs for power plants. That necessarily drives up the price of electricity. Unfortunately, there’s still more to this horrific bill:

The state must, to the extent possible, with other states in the Midwest region, develop and implement a regional approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from activities in the region, including consulting on a regional cap and trade system.

NGEA also created new responsibilities for state government. It’s a public employee union’s dream come true because it requires people to monitor regional greenhouse gas emissions.

According to FactCheck.org, the NGEA requires Minnesota to reduce GHGs, aka Greenhouse Gases, by 80%:

But the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007 didn’t “only” take “steps on renewable energy,” as Pawlenty said. It established strict statewide greenhouse gas reduction targets of 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2015 and 80 percent below those levels by 2050.

The fact that Sen. Ortman voted with the overwhelming majority in support of the BGEA isn’t comforting. Minnesota doesn’t need a politician that goes with the flow. Minnesotans need a leader who does the right thing.

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