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The need for energy reform

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other opinions Detroit Lakes, 56501
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The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill is a painful reminder of our need for comprehensive energy reform. Dependence on oil hurts our economy, and poses a threat to national security. We spend over $1 billion a day on foreign oil. We need to put America back in control of our energy situation by investing in clean energy technology that creates jobs and doesn't destroy the environment.

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We're in the midst of the worst environmental catastrophe in our nation's history. This oil spill is a tragedy. It's a tragedy for our environment and our wildlife, which is dying in a coat of crude. It's a tragedy for the people of the Gulf, whose land and livelihood has been destroyed or threatened. And it's a tragedy for the workers on that oil rig who were killed or injured.

I'm furious about the spill, and I've gotten over 5,000 calls and letters from Minnesotans demanding accountability for this disaster and action on a new national energy policy.

Well let there be no question -- BP will be held responsible for all costs incurred as a result of this oil spill. The company had no viable plan in place to deal with a spill of this magnitude. It's an outrage, and taxpayers must not be left holding the bag for BP's failure.

But we can't only look back. We have to look forward. If there was ever a moment in our history when it's become obvious that we can't drill ourselves to energy independence, it's now. We're not just talking about caring for the environment or worker safety. This spill is a call to action to secure the future of our country. It's time to kick our addiction to oil. We need to face our energy challenge head on and enact bold, comprehensive energy and climate legislation. And we need to do it now.

We know it can be done. Minnesota is a national leader in renewable energy policies. We produces 9.4 percent of our electricity from wind power, the second highest in the country. We are well on our way to meeting our state renewable energy standard of 25 percent renewable energy by 2025. And we have passed a law to increase our ethanol blend to 20 percent starting in 2013. Minnesota shows us what is possible as a country.

Today we face a choice. We can choose not to enact comprehensive legislation that makes corporate polluters pay their fair share, and watch as the clean energy jobs and innovation of the 21st century go overseas to China, Japan, India, South Korea and Germany.

Or we can choose to spur American innovation and create jobs to build a new economy based on clean American energy. I can guarantee you that you're never going to see a 60-day ethanol spill threaten the livelihoods of America's shrimpers, and oystermen, and fishermen. And you're never going to see a wind turbine blow up and pollute the ocean, and threaten all manner of wildlife and our nation's coastline.

In the coming months, I will be working to craft a long-term clean energy and climate policy that serves our country for the betterment of future generations.

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