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Debate on emissions reporting

Published (3/13/2009)
By Sue Hegarty
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Controversy is brewing whether Minnesota should preempt a new national policy regarding greenhouse gas emissions reporting.

HF774, sponsored by Rep. Kate Knuth (DFL-New Brighton), would create a statewide reporting system for greenhouse gas emissions, so that Minnesota could compare actual data to its Next Generation Energy goals for reducing emissions. Current emissions data is based on estimates, not on actual data, Knuth said.

Coincidentally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a 1,300-page rule on the subject March 10, the same day the bill was narrowly approved by the House Environment Policy and Oversight Committee and sent to the House State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee. A companion, SF444, sponsored by Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon (DFL-Duluth), awaits action by the Senate Finance Committee.

Mike Robertson, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce environmental policy consultant, said the chamber does not support the bill.

“We agree with the need to do greenhouse gas emissions reporting. The initial reports we’ve seen (at the national level) says that the rule will require the reporting of 85 to 90 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the United States,” Robertson said. “Our concern is that any rule adopted at the state level be consistent with, and not have significant discrepancies or diversions from, the federal reporting.”

Robertson compared the federal reporting requirement to an amendment on HF774 that would limit commercial reporting of carbon di

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