Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Will Wayne Stenehjem and North Dakota sue you for becoming more energy efficient?

Earlier this year ND AG Wayne Stenehjem took a trip to St. Paul to try to rattle the cage there and intimidate Minnesota into reversing the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007, which aimed "to bolster investments in renewable power, increase energy conservation and decrease Minnesota's contribution to global warming."

Stenehjem has also decided that the North Dakota stance is that pollutors should not be regulated, and this is shown by his joining a legal challenge (pdf press release) to the EPA's endangerment finding on greenhouse gases. Stenehjem trots out the tired canards of "massive regulation" and "unelected bureaucracy". He says Congress should be in charge of such regulation, even though he is most certainly another who says that but really means that he wants no regulation at all.

The $500,000 the legislature set aside for Stenehjem to challenge Minnesota's Next Generation Energy Act of 2007 seems to be burning a hole in his pocket because now Stenehjem has his mind on a similar attack on California's efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The excuse Stenehjem uses to support doing fossil fuel industry bidding is that attempts to limit greenhouse gas emissions violate the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution. But basically the reasoning is that clean and sustainable energy have to be fought because they are bad for coal companies.

What might be the next step? If you decrease your energy bill by increasing your energy efficiency, are you also making business too hard for those angelic coal and oil industries and need to be sued too? Would a solar panel on your house or electric car hinder pollutors abilities to make profits across state borders and necessitate hauling you into court to litigate you into buying more dirty energy?

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