Monday, June 3, 2013
Illinois’ Spring 2013 legislative session ended on May 31st. ELPC and many allies in the environmental, conservation, public health, clean energy and other communities have been working hard to create and improve legislative that affects our state’s air quality, water quality and clean energy. Briefly:
Fracking – Illinois has no regulations or transparency standards for the high-volume horizontal fracking that is already happening and expected to expand rapidly. The Illinois legislature passed a comprehensive law that is considered the strongest fracking regulation in the country, calling for strong protections of drinking water sources, broad transparency, open public participation, and other key provisions. Learn more at elpc.org/illinoisfrackingbill.
On-Bill Financing – Several years ago, Illinois established an on-bill financing mechanism to encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for single-unit residences and a limited number of multi-unit buildings. This spring, ELPC joined with other partners to pass legislation to significantly expand on-bill financing for all multi-unit residential buildings. This allows eligible customers low-cost financing for qualifying energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements.
Recreational Liability – For many years, if a person or conservation trust allowed the general public to come onto their property to fish, bike, hike, bird-watch or conduct any other recreational activity (other than hunting), they were not exempt from recreational liability. The Illinois legislature finally passed a new law that changes the recreational liability laws in favor of recreation and conservation.
Standards Still Under Negotiation
RPS Fix – The Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) passed in 2007 requires that Illinois procure 25% of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2025. Changes in the state’s energy market have created some administrative glitches that need to be addressed in order for the standard to be implemented effectively. ELPC and allies built strong support for this nuanced ‘fix’ with the House and Senate leadership in the spring, and we’re optimistic it will pass in the Fall 2013 session. Stay tuned.
PACE Financing - Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing provides low-cost loans to property owners for renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements. The amount borrowed is paid back through property taxes. This financing works well in many other states and is supported in Illinois by a broad coalition of environmentalists and building professionals. More negotiations between the coalition and the banking community are expected over the summer. Stay tuned.
Energy Efficient Building Codes – Illinois adopted an energy efficiency building code for residential buildings in 2009 and for industrial buildings in 2003. Since then, efforts to weaken the codes have been repeatedly quashed by the environmental community and its allies. Since new homes last decades, keeping these codes strong is essential to the state’s ongoing energy efficiency efforts.
Monday, November 19, 2012
The Environmental Law & Policy Center celebrates its 20th Anniversary in 2013. Twenty years ago, ELPC’s start-up was guided by a strategic vision, dedicated early colleagues and an entrepreneurial, results-oriented approach to solving vital environmental and clean energy problems. ELPC has grown from eight staff in Chicago to 48 talented multidisciplinary staff and eight offices in Chicago, Columbus, Des Moines, Jamestown, Madison, Minneapolis, Sioux Falls and Washington, D.C. ELPC is now the Midwest’s premier environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization, and we’re among the very best in the country. We are achieving important victories and succeeding in showing that job creation, economic growth and environment progress can be achieved together for clean energy, modern high-speed rail and cleaner air and water.
Please consider making a financial contribution to ELPC this year. ELPC combines strong legal and policy advocacy with diverse eco-business partnerships to advance our mission of achieving environmental progress and economic development together. This is the right approach, especially in times of extreme political partisanship. ELPC has produced strong successes and remarkable results:
- Shutting Down the Old Highly-Polluting Fisk and Crawford Coal Plants in Chicago in August. The old State Line coal plant on the Illinois-Indiana border was shut down in spring. ELPC’s tenacious, strategic legal and policy advocacy to “clean up or shut down” Fisk and Crawford, combined with public health and community groups’ organizing and outreach, achieved a “coal-free Chicago” that’s part of a climate change solution. More coal plants are likely to shut down soon due to both economic and advocacy pressures.
- High-Speed Rail: Moving from Vision to Reality. The “trains are out of the station” in the Midwest. Demonstration runs have begun on the Detroit–Chicago and Chicago–St. Louis corridors. Modern, fast, comfortable and convenient high-speed passenger rail will improve mobility, reduce pollution, create jobs and spur economic growth. Developing the Midwest rail network will transform our region’s transportation infrastructure.
- Stopping the Sprawl-Inducing Hastert Highway in Chicago’s Exurban Area. ELPC’s federal court lawsuit on behalf of Citizens Against the Sprawlway and Friends of the Fox River paved the way to an innovative solution: Transfer the federal funds to support needed local road improvements and other better alternatives for Kane County. ELPC’s litigation + grass roots organizing + creative strategic solutions + cooperative negotiations = a smarter and better solution.
- The “Quiet Revolution” in Energy Efficiency. More efficient lighting, appliances, HVAC systems and motors are holding down electricity demand and avoiding pollution. ELPC’s work on $500 million of energy efficiency programs in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio is producing results. Energy efficiency is a smart way of doing business and the best, fastest and cheapest way of saving consumers money on utility bills, reducing pollution, creating new jobs and enhancing grid reliability. Combining technological innovations with policy advances can help save our planet.
- Growing Wind Power and Solar Power. ELPC’s advocacy in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and South Dakota is helping to achieve rapid advances in clean energy deployment. Iowa is #2, Illinois is #4 and Minnesota is #6 in the nation for installed wind power capacity. ELPC is partnering with the City of Chicago on the SunShot Initiative to accelerate rooftop solar installations and on “brownfields to brightfields” projects. In Iowa, ELPC led the charge to pass a new solar energy tax credit. Wind power and solar power are the fastest growing energy sources in the world, creating jobs and spurring business and avoiding pollution.
- Cleaning Up the Chicago River – A Turning Point! Chicagoans have sadly tolerated our namesake river being unsafe and unhealthy for recreation and enjoyment. In 2011, ELPC’s, Friends of the Chicago River’s and our colleagues’ persistent and effective advocacy succeeded when the U.S. EPA and the Illinois Pollution Control Board directed the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to install modern pollution control equipment to disinfect wastewater. The District has now committed to disinfect earlier than originally planned. Many Chicagoans enjoying the Chicago River are looking back, shaking their heads and asking why did Chicago wait so long to clean it up? Stay tuned for news about ELPC’s work to help clean up Wisconsin’s rivers and lakes, too.
The 2012 election results were victories for clean energy, clean air and climate change solutions, as well as for high-speed rail development. President Obama’s re-election sets the overall direction for the nation, and he is ready to advance America’s clean energy economy, accelerate high-speed rail development as his #1 transportation priority, move forward Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act standards that were deferred pending the election, and continue the Great Lakes restoration. The Obama Administration also appears ready to advance EPA’s carbon pollution reduction standards.
ELPC’s win-win-win – environmental progress, job creation and economic growth – approach makes sense, focuses on solutions and brings together the people and partners who can get things done. We’re proud of our 2012 accomplishments and look forward to seizing more strategic opportunities for environmental solutions. Thank you for considering a contribution to support ELPC’s successful work protecting the Midwest’s environmental quality and preserving our natural resources.
Monday, July 23, 2012
MICHIGAN (July 19, 2012) – More than 140 academics, scientists and experts in Michigan have signed an open letter in support of ramping up Michigan’s renewable electricity standard to 25 percent by 2025.
The letter — saying the idea is feasible and would yield both economic and health benefits — was signed by scientists, engineers, economists and health professionals from across Michigan (listed below).
“Innovative Michigan businesses realize clean energy is good for their bottom line. By refueling our economy with Michigan’s renewable energy, we can keep hard earned dollars in our state that would otherwise leave to pay for imported coal and oil,” said John Patten, director of Western Michigan University’s Manufacturing Research Center and professor and chair of the Department of Manufacturing Engineering.
Voters likely will decide this fall whether utilities should be required to use renewable resources — such as wind, solar, and biomass — to produce 25 percent of the electricity they generate. Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers is now certifying that supporters collected enough signatures to include the question on the November ballot.
“Keeping Michigan’s energy dollars in our state will create even more economic benefits. By boosting our use of renewable energy, we can keep in state more of the approximately $1.4 billion we spend every year to import coal to fuel coal-fired power plants that are polluting our environment and hurting our health,” said Sean Huberty, professor at Lansing Community College’s Alternative Energy Program.
The experts say increasing reliance on renewables would help the economy in several ways, including redirecting money spent on coal imports to homegrown fuel sources. The state spends about $1.4 billion every year importing coal for electricity generation, according to the letter.
Meanwhile, the state’s current renewable energy standard, which requires utilities to generate 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2015, has a proven track record of economic success. It has already spurred at least $100 million in investments in the state.
“Generating 25 percent of our electricity from renewable energy will make Michigan competitive with other Midwest states in the growing clean energy industry. In Iowa for example, renewables already make up 20 percent of the electricity mix versus only 4 percent today in Michigan,” said Barry Solomon, founder and former president of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics and director of Michigan Technological University’s Graduate Program in Environmental Policy.
Increasing the state’s reliance on clean energy has the added benefit of reducing air pollution, protecting the Great Lakes and other water resources, and reining in carbon emissions, according to the letter.
“Fishing is a vital lure for Michigan’s growing tourism industry, but mercury pollution limits safe consumption of the fish caught here. Using more renewable energy is one way to reduce toxic pollution from coal-fired power plants, the No. 1 source of mercury emissions in the Great Lakes region,” said Nicholas Schroeck, director of the Transnational Environmental Law Clinic at Wayne State University Law School.
The endorsers of the Open Letter on Clean Energy and Green Jobs from Michigan Scientists, Engineers, Economists, and Technical and Health Professionals are based at a wide variety of institutions, including universities and colleges, government agencies, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. The endorsers’ signatures include their institutional affiliation for identification purposes only, and the listing below should not be construed to imply any institutional endorsement.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Earth Day 1970 sounded an alarm. It launched the modern environmental movement, bringing cleaner air that’s healthier to breathe, cleaner water that’s safer to drink and enjoy for recreation, and fewer dangerous toxics in our communities. Today, the growing green economy is helping to drive the Midwest’s and our nation’s economic recovery. Energy efficient equipment and appliances, wind and solar energy development, cleaner more fuel efficient cars and modern high-performance rail development are good for job creation, good for economic growth and good for the environment.
Nonetheless, some defensive polluters and politicized critics are hauling out the old, false myth that we must choose between job creation and environmental progress. That wasn’t true 42 years ago, and it isn’t true today. Nor do most people believe in that canard. Let’s look at the facts and progress of innovative clean technologies in the Midwest.
Energy Efficiency Improvements are creating jobs, saving people and businesses money on their utility bills, and reducing pollution. Johnson Controls, Honeywell, Shaw Group and Sieben Energy Associates are among the many energy efficiency businesses employing thousands of skilled workers retrofitting schools, hospitals, homes and commercial, industrial and governmental buildings. Saving energy saves consumers money and keeps money in the Midwest regional economy. Less pollution means better public health and cleaner lakes and rivers for all. Why would anyone argue that it’s somehow smart to waste energy and money?
Wind and Solar Energy Development create manufacturing and technical jobs, rural economic development and pollution-free energy. The Environmental Law & Policy Center’s Wind and Solar Supply Chain reports show that :
- Illinois is home to more than 300 wind, solar and geothermal supply chain businesses and 18,000 related jobs
- Iowa is home to more than 80 wind supply chain businesses and 2,300 manufacturing jobs, alone.
- Michigan is home to more than 241 wind and solar supply chain businesses and 10,000 related jobs.
- Ohio is home to more than 169 wind and solar supply chain businesses and 9,000 related jobs.
- Wisconsin is home to more than 250 wind and solar supply chain businesses and 12,000 related jobs.
Chicago is home to the headquarters of 13 major wind power companies, making “the Windy City” a global wind industry hub. Old-line manufacturing companies including Brad Foote Gear Works (Cicero, IL), Dowding Industries – Astraeus Wind Energy (Eaton Rapids, MI), A. Lucas & Sons Steel (Peoria, IL), S&C Electric (Chicago, IL), Timken (Canton, OH) and Broadwind – Tower Tech (Manitowoc, WI) are re-tooling to supply growing markets for clean energy equipment. Iowa is the nation’s #2 state for installed wind power, and Illinois was the nation’s #2 state for new wind power development in 2011. Wind power is the fastest growing global energy source. Midwest politicians must get the policy framework right to keep advancing our region’s clean energy economy leadership.
Cleaner, More Efficient Cars and Trucks save us money at the gas pump, cutback air pollution, improve national security by making our country less dependent on foreign oil, and keep money in the Midwest states’ economies rather than drain dollars to the Middle East, Venezuela and oil-producing states. The Obama Administration’s leadership in stabilizing and modernizing the American auto industry is a true success story, which is especially important for the Midwest with its high percentage of auto-related manufacturing jobs. Look at just Illinois: Ford is now adding 1,100 new jobs at its Chicago assembly plant, Chrysler is adding 1,800 new jobs at its Belvedere plant, and Mitsubishi Motors is investing at its Normal plant and promoting electric vehicles. Automakers and parts suppliers in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana are reviving, and there are new advanced battery manufacturers, especially in Michigan.
The federal clean car standards will increase fuel economy to a fleet-wide average of 35 mpg in 2016 and 54.5 mpg by 2025. That will save trillions of dollars for America’s economy, create jobs for Americans building the cleaner cars for the future, and reduce greenhouse gas pollution. This is a smart solution.
High-Speed Rail Development is on track across Illinois with leadership from Democratic Governor Quinn and across Michigan with leadership from Republican Governor Snyder. High-performance rail improves mobility, creates jobs and spurs economic growth, and reduces pollution. Supply chain businesses across the Midwest will be manufacturing equipment for high-speed rail projects. Wisconsin Governor Walker’s decision to reject $810 million of federal high-speed rail funds and Ohio Governor Kasich’s decision to reject $400 million are missed opportunities, which we hope can be reversed in the future.
Modern, fast, comfortable and convenient trains connecting Chicago to Milwaukee, Detroit and St. Louis and to Cleveland, Des Moines, Indianapolis, Madison, Minneapolis-St. Paul and other Midwestern cities is an important third transportation option to highway congestion with higher gas prices and rising airfares with fewer flights. This is a sensible solution for our future.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recent report shows that 3.1 million people hold jobs in green goods and services. Close to 500,000 jobs are in manufacturing, 370,000 in construction and 349,000 in professional, scientific and technical services. That’s progress.
We will soon be overwhelmed by 30-second political attack ads from all sides. Let’s separate sound solutions from the sound bites. We are achieving job creation, economic growth and better environmental quality together. That’s what the public wants and it’s happening.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Supporters of wind and solar energy see Iowa as a leading candidate to usher in an era of clean, sustainable energy that creates economic growth and energy independence.
The Gazette in Cedar Rapids examines this potential and speaks with the Environmental Law & Policy Center’s Steve Falck.
” One way to help would be for the state to lead in the use of solar and wind energy, said Steve Falck, a former northeast Iowa legislator who’s now with the Iowa Environmental Law and Policy Center. “
Read the story.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
The Illinois Commerce Commission issued its Final Order in the case approving the Illinois Power Agency’s 2012 Procurement Plan. The Order should trigger a productive and inclusive workshop process that will result in an Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) procurement program for distributed solar projects. There were 37 public comments submitted to the ICC supporting solar DG workshops. Read the public comments here.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
New major interstate transmission lines in the Midwest/Great Plains are a double-edged sword: On the one hand, they can provide additional needed delivery capacity for wind power and other new renewable energy development; on the other hand, they can provide enabling delivery capacity and lifelines of support for the continued operation of old Midwest highly-polluting coal plants (for example, to sell to higher-priced East Coast power markets).
The importance of new transmission capacity to support wind power development is relatively clear. There is a less obvious and equally important goal of relating transmission advocacy to spur the retirement of old, highly-polluting coal plants in the Midwest/Great Plains states. There is a very important set of strategic leverage points because of the structure of the Midwest/Great Plains power market in 2010 – 2020.
ELPC hosted a Midwest Transmission Strategy meeting in Chicago in April 2010. The meeting brought together Midwest environmental, clean energy and consumer leaders to develop strategies to address delivery capacity issues for wind power and other renewables as well as important cost-allocation issues for new transmission. Below are links to some of the resources shared at that conference.
Midwest Transmission Strategy Meeting
Presentations and Materials (April 2010)
Using Regional Energy Markets to Reduce Energy Demand and Costs
Webinar and Materials (September 28, 2010)
Transmission 102 Training (September 30, 2010)
Monday, April 5, 2010
Many of us are excited by the new plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) coming into the market later this year. They’re cool, high-tech and use less gasoline from countries that don’t like us very much and threaten America’s national security. They’re a big winner for reducing pollution in the targeted markets. What’s not to like about cars with environmentally-friendly names like the Nissan Leaf, or charged-up names like the Chevy Volt?
The devil is in the details, however, when it comes to whether driving and charging the PHEVs will lead to less, instead of more, pollution compared with “conventional” hybrid gas-electric vehicles (HEVs) that are available to consumers today. As my real estate friends say, it’s about “location, location, location.” It’s also about what time you’re charging the PHEV. Whether the mix of electricity generating sources used for charging are high-CO2 or low-CO2 depends a lot on the location and the time of day. In short, if the charging source is electricity generated by old highly-polluting coal plants, on balance, that may hurt the environment more than it helps in some cases.
That’s the conclusion of a 2009 study by the National Research Council of the National Academies (http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=12826) and a 2007 study issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (http://www.state.mn.us/mn/externalDocs/Commerce/Air_Emissions_Impacts_of_PlugIn_Hybrid_Vehicles_in_Minnesotas_Pass_032907013010_PCA_PHEV_emissions_FINAL_2.pdf at Appendix C) When coal plants supply more than 50% of the power mix, the equation is not favorable for PHEVs compared to HEVs when it comes to the CO2 pollution (global warming) and SO2 (acid rain-causing) pollution; for other pollutants the data varies. HEVs work better for the environment in these places.
The new federal clean car standards issued on April 1, 2010 recognize this challenge when it comes to accounting for greenhouse gas pollution. That’s why the U.S. EPA and NHTSA standards provide that the first 200,000 PHEVs and other electric vehicles sold are treated as “zero emissions” for CO2, but additional electric vehicles would assume some responsibility for the CO2 created while producing the electricity to charge them.
PHEVs are an important emerging technology — where the cleaner energy power sources are used to charge their batteries. Let’s compare and contrast among markets. In Indiana, about 95% of the electricity is supplied by coal plants. It’s not a good place to look for PHEVs as a pollution solution. However, in Northern Illinois, most of the power supplied at the margin at night is from low/no-CO2 wind power and nuclear power plants. Much better.
Peak power prices are very high on hot summer afternoons when the most highly polluting plants tend to be running on the margin to meet soaring electricity demand from cranked-up air conditioners and fans. However, at night, the Northern Illinois power market has so much surplus nuclear and wind power available that prices are very low. Indeed, during some night-time hours, as supply exceeds demand, the prices are so low that the can’t-easily-be-shut-down (so-called “must run”) nuclear plants and wind turbines are “running negative” They make money selling power during the day, but are essentially giving it away at night.
Here are three policies and actions that help make the PHEV pollution equation work favorably:
1. Location Matters – Let’s Pick Our Places for PHEVs vs. Conventional HEVs: Let’s push for PHEV-favorable policies in those parts of the Midwest and the country where wind power, solar power, hydro power and nuclear power supply more than half of the power mix. Northern Illinois (nuclear and wind power) is a good market. South Dakota, too (hydro and wind power). Coal-heavy Indiana and Southern Illinois are not. Sorry. In many places, HEVs work better for the environment.
2. Time Matters – Discount Off-Peak Electric Rates for PHEV Charging: In most Midwestern states, electricity rates are flat, while power market prices are not. On a hot summer day, consumers may be paying less then the market price per kw of electricity, but on that same summer night, the utility may be charging much more than the power, transmission and delivery actually cost. Therefore, utilities have an incentive to encourage PHEV owners to charge their cars during off-peak night times, rather than during high-price peak power day times. Time of use rates are economically justified, but complicated for many social, practical and equity reasons to implement on an across the board basis. However, there are steps that we can take in a sensible direction.
Offering discounted off-peak rates that incentivize PHEV owners to charge their cars in their garages at night, instead of during the day, is a win-win-win-win when the location is right as discussed above. The wind power, nuclear power and hydro power generating companies gain new, more profitable sales. The utilities gain profitable electricity sales, rather than losing money by selling peak-priced power at lower flat rates on hot summer days. Consumers who charge their PHEVs at night save money (about $150 – $175 per year in Northern Illinois) through the discounted off-peak rates. All of us gain environmental quality benefits from PHEV charging when the energy mix equation results in less pollution instead of more.
Let’s bring environmental groups, consumer groups, auto companies, utilities, nuclear plant owners and wind power owners and developers together to petition the state public utility commissions to authorize pilot programs of discounted off-peak rates for PHEV charging. New meters will be required, but those costs can be amortized through the rate savings over time.
3. Time Matters – Solar Power Works Well for PHEV Charging: Solar energy is most available on hot, sunny afternoon when power market prices are highest and the power is needed most. So, if PHEV charging stations are powered by solar, the pollution equation works well. How can we encourage that to happen? First, by using planning, zoning and electric utility regulatory laws and policies to encourage location of charging stations in places where there is good solar access. Second, authorizing favorable net metering rates for charging stations to sell solar-generated power back into the grid when it is not fully used for charging cars. Third, possibly direct some of the current public incentives for solar PV installations to PHEV charging stations.
The Northern Illinois Plug-In Hybrid Opportunity: President Obama has stated his national goal of 1 million PHEVs on the road by 2015. Let’s look at the fundamentals of the opportunity in his home area, which is one of the best places in the country for PHEVs to accelerate:
Large market of car buyers and users in third largest metro area in the U.S.
Large amount of auto manufacturing and suppliers, including two existing plants that could potentially be retooled – the Ford plant on the southeast side of Chicago, and the Chrysler plant in Belvedere.
Surplus, zero marginal cost, no-greenhouse gas wind power on-line and under development, which should ramp up to 20% of ComEd’s power mix within a decade under the Illinois Renewable Energy Standard law. Some of this excess supply is now being sold out-of-state.
Surplus, low marginal cost, no-direct greenhouse gas nuclear power generation. Exelon Generation has the largest concentration of nuclear plants in U.S. The price/cost of this power at night is cheap, and this is most of ComEd’s delivered electricity supply.
Precedent for setting pilot program time-of-use rates, which would offer low off-peak electricity rates for PHEV battery-charging at night. This creates an economic incentive for PHEV ownership and use, while still being profitable for ComEd and Exelon Generation to sell surplus nuclear power at night at low rates that exceed the marginal cost of the generation and delivery. This would also be highly beneficial for wind power generators who need an expanded power market at night – more off-peak sales would be a major driver for this renewable energy development as wind power is relatively plentiful at night, but searching for a market.
In short, the markets, policies and players are aligned in Northern Illinois for this PHEV strategy to succeed. This is a win-win-win-win for more transportation efficiency and better national security, less global warming pollution, more utility and energy generation company revenues, and more job creation.
Getting more PHEVs on the road is a key step forward in terms of reducing our dependence on foreign oil and, in some parts of the country, they also can sharply reduce both CO2 pollution. However, in places whose electricity comes primarily from coal, we need to develop PHEVs simultaneously with legislation to clean up the electricity system. Then everyone can take full advantage of PHEVs’ technological improvements.
The pollution equation shifts dramatically depending on the power mix in the charging location and the time of day. From an environmental standpoint, location and time matter, a lot. We don’t want more electricity load and pollution from PHEVs charging in all places at all times. We should focus on supporting PHEV rollouts in those places and at those times where there is excess low/no-CO2 wind, hydro and nuclear power available at the margin. Let’s drive the market to achieve common benefits for the car-buying public, clean energy generators and utilities, clean car manufacturers and auto workers, and national security.
Howard A. Learner is the executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, the Midwest’s leading environmental and economic development advocacy organization.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Crain’s Chicago Business examines the prospects for offshore wind power in Lake Michigan. ELPC Executive Director Howard Learner says that wind farms near Chicago would trigger public opposition. ”There’s a reason lakefront property is so valuable in Chicago,” said Learner.
Offshore wind farms in the Great Lakes are less likely to be built because the Midwest has excellent sites for wind power available on land, where wind power development is much cheaper than offshore. Read the article in Crain’s Chicago Business.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The following is a statement by Howard Learner, ELPC’s executive director, following the hearing today of the Senate Ag Committee on how climate legislation affects agriculture.
We agree with the USDA’s recent study showing that actions to reduce greenhouse gas pollution can produce long-term gains for farmers. It’s time for strong energy and climate legislation that will boost farm income and reduce the risk of global warming.
The costs of inaction are high—farmers and agricultural industries are particularly vulnerable to changes in temperature, rainfall patterns and pests that will result from unchecked climate change. Federal climate solutions and clean energy legislation can help farmers and foresters tap into growing markets in carbon offsets, renewable energy generation, advanced biofuels and energy efficiency savings.
The USDA study, among others, shows that minimal short-term costs to farmers will soon be outpaced by significant long-term gains in income, job creation, and other rural development opportunities.
With a strong climate bill, including new investments in farm-based energy and conservation, the agricultural community can help lead efforts to protect and improve our health and environment while fueling our clean energy economy.