Indiana governor expresses green-energy doubts

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told a conference of industrial energy customers that the pursuit of green jobs and alternative fuels could increase energy costs without improving the environment.

Daniels spoke Wednesday during
the Indiana Energy Conference at IUPUI.

Daniels said Indiana’s manufacturing industries rely on affordable energy.
He contends the proposed caps on carbon emissions pending in Congress are misguided and "rockheaded."

Daniels administration has pushed for increase production of ethanol, biodiesel and wind power. But the governor said it’s
a fantasy to believe such sources can completely replace fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

His comments coincided
with a release of a report prepared for a meeting of the Midwestern Governors Association next week in Detroit that acknowledges
the 11-state area will keep relying heavily on coal — which generates nearly three-fourths of its electricity —
long into the future.

However, the report suggests Midwestern states should use their abundant natural resources and
manufacturing base to build an economy based on clean energy. It calls for stepped-up development of technology that captures
the emission of carbon dioxide from burning coal and stores it underground instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. Some
believe carbon dioxide is a contributor to global warming.

The report also suggests policies that support conservation,
the development of renewable sources and infrastructure to bring them to the market, and more research into advanced energy
technologies. Also needed is an educated work force that can handle the jobs a clean-energy economy would create, it says.

"A transition of this magnitude cannot happen overnight," it says. "Logistical, technical, and cost
obstacles persist for many promising zero and low-carbon renewable and fossil energy technologies."

The report
makes specific recommendations to carry out broad clean-energy goals for the region the governors approved in 2007. Among
those goals: Thirty percent of the electricity consumed in the region should come from renewable sources by 2030, up from
2.4 percent in 2005.

The governors appointed three advisory panels to develop the paper, with representatives of
industry, agriculture, labor, environmental groups and government agencies.

Their proposal seeks a middle ground
between the ideals sought by competing interests, said Emily Marthaler, a spokeswoman for the governors association.

"It is a comprehensive approach that capitalizes on the strengths of the Midwest," Marthaler said. "Instead
of flashy kinds of extremes, it has workable solutions that are in keeping with the practical character of our region."

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