Monday, November 23, 2009

Cap-and-trade demands international solution

Any cap-and-trade policy must keep Minnesota businesses on a level playing field with their competitors in the national and global marketplaces. That’s why the Minnesota Chamber advocates a national program – but only if it is crafted within the context of an international agreement. That critical element is missing from the current debate in Congress. The proposed legislation is certain to result in higher energy prices that will be passed to ratepayers. Minnesota’s mining and forest products industries will particularly be hit hard. Overall, any product manufacturer with global sales will be less competitive if energy prices increase significantly.

This negative impact will be made worse by the proposed allocation of emission allowances for electric utilities, which penalizes utilities that are more coal dependent. Customers in Minnesota and the Midwest rely heavily on coal-powered electricity generation. As a result, they will be affected disproportionately compared with other regions, creating another competitive disadvantage for businesses.

The business community has a strong record of advancing initiatives that benefit the environment and the economy. But the federal legislation as currently framed – especially without an accompanying international agreement – won’t solve the problem, be efficient or cost effective.

The Senate Wants to Create Jobs: They Should Call Enbridge Pipeline for Advice

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) wants to make sure that the upcoming "jobs bill" includes the energy sector. Creating jobs is the new political mantra. Most of us are for that since it actually helps people on Main Street rather than Wall Street. However, the private market money sources, lenders and venture capitalists are unlikely to take risks in the alternative energy sector right now. Smart money will stay close to traditional energy so long as we have a weak dollar. Just look at the performance of oil in the past several months for proof.

While oil itself has performed well, the real story in traditional energy is infrastructure. Enbridge Pipeline presents a great example of private sector job creation. Don't believe me, call the Bemidji/Grand Rapids and all in between Chambers of Commerce or read the MPR story below. These are not more government jobs, these are private sector welders, pipefitters, and hardware jobs. With the construction of the Alberta Clipper pipeline from Calgary to Superior, Wisconsin, reliable, friendly Canadian crude is brought to the upper Midwest energy consumer -- you and me. This crude is then refined at the Flint Hills Resources Refinery, just south of the Twin Cities and used by Minnesota outdoorsman in their snowmobiles, four wheelers, snowblowers, ice drills, chain saws, and cars and trucks as well as running Minnesota Main Street business. Minnesota receives approximately 80% of its oil from our Canadian neighbors.

As a result of the pipeline construction, there are no motel rooms available in Bemidji and the surrounding area, restaurants are packed, and food suppliers are running full time as are many ancillary businesses.

Want the real story about how private business is creating jobs and income and taxes right here in Minnesota. Read the details from Minnesota Public Radio at: