Action alert: Some good bills and another mega horrible bill

A look at the bills up before the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on March 26th illustrates how mixed the bag is.  Good bills, questionable bills,  and bad bills, and one mega-horrible bill.

S.F. 1439-Dahle: Energy conservation measure definition addition. (Companion H.F.1358)

This bill adds “water metering devices that increase efficiency or accuracy.” to the list of actions defined as “energy efficiency projects.”  This seems to dilute the definition of “energy efficiency” since water meters are unlikely to contribute significantly to energy efficiency.”  Probably an example of how “energy efficiency” can be used as a pork barrel.

S.F. 1034-Ruud: School trust lands unclaimed lottery prize money dedication; school trust land condemnation provisions authorization and appropriation. (Companion H.F. 887)

I have no knowledge of or opinion on this.

S.F. 1035-Ruud: School trust land condemnation, department of natural resources (DNR) acquisition, appropriation and bond issue. (Companion H.F.1096)

I have no knowledge of or opinion on this.

S.F. 1726-Chamberlain: Metropolitan area water supply advisory committees provisions modifications; north and east metro groundwater management area plan suspension. (Companion H.F. 1835)

This looks like legislative interference in an ongoing process, but the politics are unclear from the wording of the bill.  Noticeable is the lack of any serious emphasis on water conservation.

S.F. 517-Saxhaug: Advanced biofuel production incentive program, renewable chemical production incentive program and biomass production incentive program creation and appropriation. (Companion H.F. 536)

This bill is in the mega-horrible category and, noticeably, the authors include several of the most toxic legislators in Minnesota.  The “biomass thermal production incentive” means that the taxpayers of Minnesota would be paying a subsidy–which might be $50-60 per ton–to promote incineration of  “raw materials … from agricultural or forestry sources” greatly needed to maintain soil fiber and fertility, while causing air pollution.  PLEASE consider contacting legislators to oppose this bill.

S.F. 1516-Hoffman, J.: Natural gas vehicle and fueling station rebate program. (Companion H.F 1548)

This is a good bill that would provide rebates for converting vehicles to run on natural gas.  Natural gas is in abundant supply and is generally a cheaper, lower carbon, and cleaner fuel than gasoline or diesel.  Senator Hoffman seems to be involved with many good bills.

S.F. 1948-Marty: Electric and compressed natural gas vehicles provisions. (Companion H.F. 2081)

This bill is aimed at getting utilities to promote electric and natural gas vehicles, and includes a rebate program that seems to apply to new vehicles but not, unfortunately, conversions.  This bill relies on good-faith compliance and implementation by utilities and the Public Utilities Commission.

S.F. 674-Hoffman, J.: Personal care products containing microbeads sale prohibition. (Companion H.F. 834)

Microbeads are causing a lot of problems and need to be banned.  That’s the good part.  But I am concerned about this provision which might prevent stronger or quicker local government actions: “Subd. 3.  Preemption. This section preempts any ordinance or resolution of a municipality, county, or any other local government entity concerning synthetic plastic microbeads.”S.F. 674 should be amended to delete this last part.

The members of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee are here.


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