The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce held an “Insider’s Issue Breakfast” this morning focused on energy and environmental permitting legislation that is currently moving through the Legislature. The panel was comprised of key policy makersr who will have significant impact on crafting the direction of the State’s energy future. Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont) Chair of Energy, Utilities, Technology and Communications Committee; Rep. Denny McNamara (R-Hastings) Chair of Environment Policy and Oversight Committee; Sen. Geoff Michel (R-Edina) Chair of Business, Industry and Jobs Committee; and Bill Grant, Deputy Commissioner, Office of Energy Security, answered questions from the Chamber’s Energy Policy Committee chair and from the audience.
The group was asked about baseload energy and the options available to meet the State’s future baseload energy needs. Sen. Rosen emphasized the importance of lifting the current moratoria on construction of new coal and nuclear generating facilities, and lifting the ban on importation of energy derived from coal plants located outside the state. Both the House and Senate have passed bills lifting the nuclear moratorium and that bill is now headed to a conference committee. Sen. Michel said it will be a race to see if the nuclear moratorium bill gets to the Governor’s desk before the permitting bill. It had been speculated that the nuclear bill would stay in conference committee until an agreement could be reached with the Governor, but that now doesn’t appear to be the case. The permitting bill could be on the Governor’s desk as early as next week. The coal moratorium bill has passed through one committee in the House and will be heard next week in both the House Commerce Committee and Senate Energy Committee.
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