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Published August 03, 2010, 09:12 AM

‘Utility Only’ version of cap and trade will disproportionally affect ND

BISMARCK, N.D. — As President Reagan would say, “There they go again.”

By: Brian Kalk,

BISMARCK, N.D. — As President Reagan would say, “There they go again.”

The Associated Press has reported that President Obama is working with several senators to “quietly draft” a version of cap and trade deemed “utility-only.”

They have been trying for months to force a bill to destroy our fossil fuel industry. The people of the United States and North Dakota are against such a bill. This has not stopped the president and his allies.

The worst oil spill in history is wreaking havoc on our country. In true Chicago style, instead of focusing on stopping the leak and cleaning up the mess, it is being used to push another version of cap and trade.

Taking aim

This new version of the old bill is aimed directly at North Dakota.

A “utility-only” version of cap and trade means increased costs for refineries and power plants resulting in at least a 25 to 40 percent increase in utility costs and thousands of lost jobs for our state.

The “utility-only” version actually is worse for our state than the original cap and trade bill. It will disproportionally affect North Dakota consumers and devastate our economy. If signed into law, North Dakota no longer will have the lowest retail electricity rates in the country, our rich oil and gas reserves will not be fully developed, and North Dakota’s economy will be forever harmed.

We are doing it right in North Dakota.

In addition to our strong fossil fuel industries, wind, biofuels and other renewable energy sources continue to increase in our state. North Dakota’s balanced approach to energy development should be modeled by Washington, not punished.

It is time for Sens. Conrad and Dorgan to demand the president deliver a realistic policy that leads us toward genuine energy independence, not one that will wipe out our state’s economy.

Editor’s Note: Kalk is a North Dakota public service commissioner.