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Death of Big Stone II presents opportunity

I am writing in response to a recently published editorial on the impact of the death of the Big Stone II project on Minnesota's Economy. There has been a lot of talk recently about the withdrawal of the Otter Tail Power Company from the Big Stone II power plant project. While many worry the delay or death of the project spells misfortune for our Minnesota economy, it is in fact an opportunity for growth and innovation.

Strong investments in energy efficiency will provide Minnesota with thousands of good-paying green jobs that can't be outsourced.  We can repower Minnesota by putting people to work weatherizing homes, making efficient new buildings, and manufacturing, servicing, and installing wind turbines and solar panels.

Investing in energy efficiency would not only create jobs for Minnesota but also saves our households and businesses money.  For instance, a recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that passing a comprehensive set of aggressive clean energy policies and capping global warming pollution would cut costs in the West North Central region by $800 per household annually and save consumers and businesses a total of $16 billion annually in 2030.  These savings would significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil and stop global warming pollution.

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken have already come out in support of President Obama's vision of a 21st century clean energy economy. We urge them to continue to stay vocal and to show leadership in passing strong legislation that invests in clean energy.  It's clear that Americans are ready for clean energy and Congress needs to deliver on that promise.

(Environment Minnesota is a state wide citizen based environmental advocacy group.)