8/8/2013 11:30:00 PM Minnesota Businesses, Labor, and Renewable Energy Interests
Applaud President Obama's Climate Action Plan
On Aug. 8, 2013160 businesses, unions, and other organizations from six Midwest states, including 45 from Minnesota, sent a letter to President Barack Obama thanking him for the Climate Action Plan he laid out in June, and supporting his call to reduce harmful carbon pollution from power plants, and to ramp-up renewable energy development.
The letter emphasized the importance of the president's directive to the Environmental Protection Agency to develop rules reducing harmful carbon pollution from existing power plants, which are the source of nearly 40 percent of the nation's carbon pollution.
Emphasizing the immediacy of climate change, the letter cited record flooding in parts of the Midwest this spring, less than one year after devastating drought over much of the region last summer and fall. "We look forward to working with you, EPA, and Midwestern electric utilities to meet this challenge," the signatories wrote to the president.
Much of the letter is focused on recent extreme weather, adverse health impacts brought about by climate change, and how the region's low-income communities are especially susceptible to climate change impacts.
"As people of faith we recognize the need to reduce carbon pollution as a moral obligation we owe our children, our neighbors, and the poorest among us. That is why we thank the president for directing the EPA to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector," said Joy Throm, board chair, Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light
In addition, the letter - signed by organizations in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin - highlights how carbon pollution standards can boost the Midwest's clean energy manufacturing sector: "The Midwest can be the world's leader in manufacturing the clean energy technologies that meet our energy needs and protect the environment for future generations."
"The transition from coal power to carbon-free energy like solar and wind is picking up speed, creating job growth and investment in the Midwest and especially Minnesota, where our company is based. These clean-energy jobs are in equipment manufacturing, system design and installation; they develop careers where you can do well and do good at the same time." - Dustin Denison, president and owner, Applied Energy Innovations.
The letter stresses the need to make the carbon pollution standards as cost-effective as possible and points out that the longer the nation waits to regulate carbon pollution, the more expensive it becomes.
"Reducing carbon pollution and promoting clean energy development is a proposition with huge upside and minimal downside implications. We get cleaner air and a healthier planet while growing new jobs in a technology category that also has tremendous export potential," said Russ DeFauw, president of Lakeville, Minnesota-based Performance Office Papers. This should be a continuing national priority on both environmental and economic grounds."
The 45 Minnesota organizations and entities signing the letter are:
Alliance for Sustainability
Applied Energy Innovations
Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis
Clean Up Our River Environment
Clean Water Action Minnesota
Communication Workers of America - Minnesota State Council
District Energy LLC, and Ever-green Energy LLC
Enviro-Tech Construction Services, Inc.
Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
Friends of the Mississippi River
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Izaak Walton League of America-MN Division
League of Women Voters Minnesota
Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
Minnesota Community Solar, Inc.
Minnesota Conservation Federation
Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light
Minnesota Ornithologists Union
Minnesota Public Interest Research Group
Minnesota Renewable Energy Society
Minnesota Solar Energy Industry Association
Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness
Novel Energy Solutions
Performance Office Papers
Piragis Northwoods Company
Project Resources Corporation
Quality Bike Products
Renewable Energy Services, LLC
Saint Croix River Association
Save Lake Superior Association
Service Employees International Union Minnesota State Council