and Natural Resources
The rising price of energy is one of the top issues affecting Minnesota families, farmers, and businesses. Because of our cold weather and the great distances we drive, Minnesotans are disproportionately impacted by high energy prices. That is why we understand better than many other Americans the need for a comprehensive energy strategy that will provide relief to consumers in the short-term while building a broad-based foundation for our long-term energy security and independence.
I want to put America back in control of our energy supply. We need to chart a new energy future - one that creates jobs, reduces our dependence on foreign oil, protects our economy and national security from price shocks due to natural disasters and political instability abroad, and responds to the challenges of global climate change.
This energy future must be based on a combination of homegrown energy sources, new energy technologies, and expanded domestic energy production. In Minnesota, we have the talent and know-how to innovate and the natural resources to propel our economy forward. I believe this is a great opportunity to meet our nation's energy demands and promote economic development across America.
We also must commit ourselves to protecting our environment and preserving our natural resources for generations to come. Environmental conservation is a fundamental part of Minnesota's heritage - and it's part of my own family heritage too. Like most Minnesotans, I grew up in a family that values the outdoors. My grandfather, from northern Minnesota, was an avid hunter. My dad is a bicyclist, mountain climber, and all-around outdoorsman, and my mom always liked to fish and hike. I remember packing up our family car as a young girl and heading up north for family camping trips.
As your Senator, I believe a major part of my job includes ensuring that we have the right policies to protect the natural resources we enjoy in Minnesota - our lakes, rivers, and wetlands, our forests and prairies, our wildlife habitats and abundant farmland. It is our responsibility to pass on this Minnesota way of life to future generations with responsible conservation of our national resources and smart policies that allow our outdoor recreation, fishing, and hunting industries to thrive. That is why I am dedicated to promoting responsible land use policies that preserve our farmlands, reduce flooding dangers, and keep our air and water clean.
By harnessing our homegrown energy potential and preserving the natural resources that make Minnesota such a special place for everyone, our state can continue to be a shining example for the rest of the country that strong energy and environmental policies can go hand-in hand with a strong economy.
As Minnesota's U.S. Senator, I will continue to focus on these priorities:
- Promoting the development of homegrown renewable energy. Minnesota is at the forefront of ethanol, biodiesel, and wind energy production and led the nation in 2007 by adopting a renewable energy standard that requires electric utilities to obtain 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar, and biomass by the year 2025. This policy has helped stimulate renewable development throughout Minnesota, bringing in new investment and opportunities to both rural and urban areas. Our nation needs to follow Minnesota's lead by adopting national standards for renewable energy and by providing consumers more choices at the gas pump.
- Increasing energy efficiency. As Energy Secretary Chu has noted, improving efficiency in vehicles, buildings, and appliances isn't just the "low-hanging fruit" - it's the fruit that's rolling on the ground. Promoting energy efficiency is good for business, good for consumers, and good for our economy. We need strong national targets to make sure our energy policies encourage energy efficiency in every part of our economy.
- Expanding domestic energy production. I believe there is no single solution that can move our nation toward energy independence. So while we increase the development of advanced biofuels and other domestic energy resources such as hydro, geothermal, and wind power, we also need to continue to develop existing technologies including increased domestic oil and gas production with appropriate safeguards, cleaner coal technologies, and safe nuclear power. I am working to make sure that our energy policies increase domestic production without increasing costs for middle-class families.
- Reining in speculation in our energy markets. In recent years we have witnessed dramatic fluctuations in global energy prices that cannot be attributed solely to issues of supply and demand. With high gas prices hurting consumers at the pump and increasing costs for our farmers and businesses, we need to rein in financial speculators whose bets have contributed to the increased volatility and spiking prices in the oil and gas markets.
- Keeping our air and water clean. Minnesota has some of the strongest pollution control standards in the country. Residents across our state are concerned about the negative impacts of mercury contamination and other pollutants that affect our public health and natural resources. Because pollution does not stop at state lines, we need strong federal standards to match Minnesota's leadership.
- Combating climate change. There is now a scientific consensus that climate change is having an impact on our world and we need to take responsible steps to respond to these challenges. I support a comprehensive approach that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the development of energy efficient technologies and homegrown energy resources without burdening our farmers and small businesses.
- Strengthening our water infrastructure. Providing communities with clean drinking water and flood protection is critical. Many rural communities across Minnesota are unable to shoulder the financial burden of upgrading or reconstructing key infrastructure projects. We need to invest in the proper infrastructure to keep communities strong and help them continue to grow.
- Protecting the Great Lakes. Minnesota is home to Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes and the largest freshwater lake in the world. Lake Superior and the Great Lakes as a whole are vital to Minnesota's environment and economy. It is imperative that we support our shipping, boating, and fishing industries while pursuing responsible policies that keep our waters clean and clear of invasive species like Asian carp.
- Preserving open spaces and native wildlife. Outdoor recreation contributes billions of dollars to Minnesota's economy. We need policies that preserve our open spaces, farmlands, and hunting lands, while protecting vital wetlands so that we can maintain important wildlife habitats and reduce flooding dangers.
Since coming to the Senate, I have fought for new energy policies and strong measures to protect our environment and natural resources:
New Energy Policies
- Expanding the market for homegrown biofuels. As a member of the Senate Commerce and Agriculture Committees, I worked on the bipartisan bill to ensure that the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 included provisions requiring an increase in biofuel production by 2022 - requiring that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels be used by the year 2022. This law also included new provisions to promote the installation of blender pumps at gas stations across the country, which will provide consumers with the choice of using different blends of ethanol and gasoline as well as biodiesel.
- Helping our farmers move to the next generation of farm-based biofuels. I've taken the lead in promoting the next generation of biofuel crops through my work on the Agriculture Committee. I successfully included legislation in the 2008 Farm Bill to provide incentives for U.S. farmers to produce cellulosic ethanol made from dedicated energy crops like prairie grass and alfalfa and from agricultural residues and wood chips. I've also introduced the Farm-to-Fuel Investment Act and the Securing America's Future with Energy and Sustainable Technologies Act, which offer incentives to produce ethanol made from Minnesota-based biomass and would provide our country with an alternative motor fuel, protect our soil and water quality, and provide new wildlife habitats. And I worked to ensure the 2012 Farm Bill passed by the Senate included a strong energy title to allow our farmers to continue to develop homegrown energy for our nation.
- Implementing the first automobile fuel efficiency upgrades in decades. I was part of a bipartisan group of senators that worked to reach a compromise and pass the 2007 Energy Bill which included a series of incentives for the development of new, more efficient consumer technologies. From the next generation of hybrid and plug-in vehicles, to higher efficiency standards for appliances, to incentives for the design and construction of high-performance energy-efficient buildings, these initiatives are designed to reduce energy bills and save consumers money.
- Extending Home Energy Tax Credits, Weatherization, and Heating Assistance.
- Tax credits for energy efficient products: I supported the inclusion of tax credits for energy-efficient products in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and again in the Tax Relief Act of 2010. These credits reward homeowners who install energy-efficient products - such as new efficient windows, insulation, doors, roofs, and heating and cooling equipment - as well as credits for hybrid and electric vehicles. [For more information about tax credits for energy-efficient cars and products, please visit the Department of Energy's website.]
- Heating and Weatherization Assistance. The Weatherization Assistance Program is an important tool in reducing home energy costs. According to the National Association for State Community Services Programs, for every dollar spent, the Weatherization Program returns $2.72 in energy and non-energy benefits over the life of the weatherized home. I've co-sponsored the Warm-in-Winter and Cool-in-Summer Act and helped secure vital funds for home energy assistance programs in Minnesota.
- Creating stable incentives for the private sector to invest in renewable energy. I authored the bipartisan American Renewable Energy Act that called for long-term extensions of renewable energy production tax credits and a national renewable electricity standard of 25 percent by 2025. Provisions from this bill to extend production tax credits for renewable energy were included in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
- Finding a bipartisan solution to create more homegrown energy. Creating our new energy future is going to require all Americans to join together to bring about change. I've joined a bipartisan group of senators working to develop a proposal to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, develop and expand domestic sources of energy, and strengthen our economy.
Protecting our Environment and Natural Resources
- Improving our water infrastructure. I helped pass the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, which was the first clean water infrastructure legislation enacted into law in seven years and included provisions to increase flood control, protect ecosystems, protect our shorelines, and treat wastewater.
- Protecting the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi River watershed. I was an original cosponsor of the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2008, which bolstered pollution clean-up efforts in the Great Lakes. I also was an original cosponsor of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact of 2008 to prevent diversions of Great Lakes water out of the region and to establish new water conservation and environmental protection standards in the Great Lakes region. And I've authored the Upper Mississippi River Protection Act, which aims to help reduce pollution in the Upper Mississippi River.
- Keeping Asian carp out of Minnesota's rivers and lakes. I was an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act, which was signed into law in December of 2011 and prohibits the importation and transportation of Asian carp. In February of 2013 I introduced the Upper Mississippi CARP Act that would help fight the spread of Asian carp in Minnesota's waterways by authorizing the Army Corps of Engineers to close the St. Anthony Falls Dam if Asian carp are found in certain areas. And I've worked with Representative Erik Paulsen to upgrade the Coon Rapids Dam, which has been identified as an effective barrier for preventing the spread of Asian Carp up the Mississippi River watershed. I also joined senators in introducing the Stop Asian Carp Act, which would help the Army Corps of Engineers evaluate a hydrologic barrier to block the spread of Asian carp in the waterways connecting the Great Lakes and alternatives for boating traffic.
- Strengthening the Clean Air Act. I was an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Clean Air Act Amendments of 2010 that would require power plants to cut air pollution - such as mercury and ozone emissions - by 50 to 90 percent over the next five years. I also voted against an amendment that would have blocked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from moving forward with the Cross State Air Pollution rule that helps protect Minnesotans from power plant pollution from other states. I also fought against attempts in the Senate to undermine the Clean Air Act that would have invalidated the standards that reduce pollution from mercury and other hazardous chemicals.
- Expanding our nation's Wilderness Areas. I pushed for passage of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 that constituted the largest expansion of our nation's wilderness in 15 years, including the declaration of two million more acres of national Wilderness Areas and more than 1,000 miles of national Wild and Scenic Rivers. I've also cosponsored legislation to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and have worked to expand service-learning opportunities that help restore America's natural, recreational, and scenic resources.
- Supporting Minnesota Tourism and Outdoor Recreation. As co-chair of the Senate Tourism Caucus and the former chair of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the U.S. tourism industry, I've fought to cut red tape and reduce delays to help promote tourism, including outdoor recreation, which is the fifth-largest industry in Minnesota - generating $11 billion in sales and nearly 11 percent of the state's total private sector employment. I've cosponsored the Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act, a bipartisan bill in the Senate to protect Minnesota's sportsmen and anglers from burdensome regulations by barring the Environmental Protection Agency from restricting the sale of lead bullets or lead sinkers and help keep hunting and fishing affordable. I also cosponsored legislation that passed the Senate that aims to ensure that broad federal standards on boat discharges, such as bilge water and engine fluids, will not require small boat owners to apply for cumbersome federal permits.
- Protecting consumers from unsafe wood imports and supporting our timber producers. I authored the bipartisan Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Act, signed into law in 2009, to protect consumers from potentially hazardous levels of formaldehyde in composite wood products and to ensure the U.S. timber industry is on a level playing field with foreign competitors.
- Reforming our nation's toxic chemicals policy. I am an original cosponsor of the Safe Chemicals Act that would keep our children and families safe from toxic substances while providing businesses clear standards for developing new products.
Senator Klobuchar’s Offices
302 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main Line: 202-224-3244
Main Fax: 202-228-2186
Toll Free: 1-888-224-9043
1200 Washington Avenue South, Room 250
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Main Line: 612-727-5220
Main Fax: 612-727-5223
Toll Free: 1-888-224-9043
1130 1/2 7th Street NW, Room 208
Rochester, MN 55901
Main Line: 507-288-5321
121 4th Street South
Moorhead, MN 56560
Main Line: 218-287-2219
Olcott Plaza, Room 105
820 9th Street North
Virginia, MN 55792
Main Line: 218-741-9690