Sen. Al Franken wrote the following letter to a Grist reader in early November, expressing support for “comprehensive energy legislation” and a “national energy plan that keeps our country moving down a path to a homegrown economy with more jobs, more innovation, and more opportunities for investment.”
The senator has been concerned about the possible loss of manufacturing jobs to countries without emission-reduction plans (e.g. China and India), and in August he joined with nine other Democrats in writing a letter to President Obama calling for a climate bill to include tariffs on goods from countries without binding emission targets. Franken continues to express that concern in this letter to a constituent:
Thank you for contacting me about energy and climate change legislation. I appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with me on this important issue for Minnesota and the nation.
One of the reasons I support comprehensive energy legislation is that Minnesota is uniquely positioned to become a global leader in clean energy production. Whether it’s harnessing the wind in Pipestone, growing the next generation of bio-fuels in Willmar, or tapping into geothermal energy in Appleton, Minnesota is ready to lead.
We have the potential to foster a new industrial revolution—a 21st century economy built on changing the way the world makes and uses energy. Right now, China and Germany are winning the race to develop solar and wind power, but together we can change this. Minnesotans can ensure that the world’s energy future is found in the farms and rural communities of Benson and Bemidji, not the factories of Beijing and Berlin. We need a national energy plan that keeps our country moving down a path to a homegrown economy with more jobs, more innovation, and more opportunities for investment.
Minnesota is in a position to benefit from the national energy legislation that Congress is now considering. But it’s critical that we get the details right. On August 6, 2009, I sent a letter to President Obama urging that any national climate change program include incentives to force China and India to reduce their emissions. These incentives will ensure environmental integrity and economic security here at home. Additionally, I am working to secure new economic opportunities for Minnesota farmers in the emerging market for carbon offsets.
Over the next few months, as the Senate completes work on its energy plan, I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that Minnesota is best positioned to reap the benefits of the new energy economy and that any legislation does not put an undue burden on consumers like you.
Thank you again for contacting me, and I look forward to hearing from you in the future on this or any other matter of concern to you.
United States Senator
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