Broad spectrum of stakeholders outlines strong recommendations

MINNEAPOLIS — Environmental groups, utilities, petroleum and manufacturing corporations working to advise the Midwestern Governors Association met today in Minneapolis and agreed on draft final recommendations for a Midwest cap and trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“This is an important package that will inform the federal debate and create a critical backstop in the event the federal debate is stalled,” said Keith Reopelle, Senior Policy Director at Clean Wisconsin. “A strong federal or regional cap and trade program will protect public health and create jobs in the research, manufacturing and construction of clean energy technologies.”

In November of 2007 Republican and Democratic Governor’s from Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota joined the Premier of Manitoba in signing an agreement to put a regional cap and trade program in place by 2012 as part of a Midwestern Governor’s Association Summit meeting in Milwaukee.

Economic analyses performed recently indicate that a strong cap and trade coupled with energy efficiency efforts and renewable energy production can significantly reduce global warming pollution without overly burdensome costs.

“The modeling clearly illustrates that a Midwest cap and trade program like the one recommended today, along with investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy production, would be affordable,” said Reopelle. “With major investments in energy efficiency, consumers should ultimately see smaller energy bills.”

Today’s recommendations, which call for greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced 18 to 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050, align closely with the American Clean Energy and Security Act as initially drafted. Key differences include that the Midwest program would allow 10 percent fewer offsets, would require all the allowances be used for climate-related purposes, and would create a technology development fund.

“Today’s recommendations demonstrate the Midwest’s serious commitment to tackling global warming,” said Reopelle. “A strong cap and trade program will not only reduce global warming pollution, but also stimulate job growth and keep energy bills affordable.”