Energy Legislation Stalled in Washington

Investing in renewable energy makes sense for rural America. Our rural communities stand to benefit from rental payments to rural landowners; new jobs in manufacturing, construction and maintenance as well as additional property taxes to support rural schools and local government services.
The Center has reported on research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimating that generating 20 percent of the nation's electricity from renewable sources by 2030 would create nearly 25,000 permanent jobs in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

We commissioned polls in Nebraska and Iowa and found staunch support in both states for legislation requiring large utilities to get 20 percent of their power from renewable sources. The support cut across all demographics and all regions. In western Nebraska, for example, two-thirds of Republicans voiced their support. Similarly, polling in Iowa showed strong support among both Democrats and Republicans and in all regions of the state. We've packed townhall forums on wind development in Scottsbluff, Nebraska and at seven similar meetings across South Dakota.

All that support has not, however, translated into action in Washington. We must redouble our efforts to break the logjam. Many of the swing votes on critical energy legislation are from Midwest and Plains states with large rural constituencies. That means our collective voice - as rural people - is amplified in this debate. If farmers, ranchers and rural citizens as well as rural business, government and economic development leaders stand up and speak out, this issue won't just fade away.

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