Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Governors Meet in Washington

U.S.Governors We’ve noted here a few times –more than a few – that the states are taking a shine to nuclear energy that has made the feds look a little, shall we say, laggard. But this federalism thing is a two way street, so some governors are talking up energy issues with President Obama at a climate change symposium in Washington:

Gov. Jennifer Granholm [D-Mich.] is heading to Washington to talk about how clean energy technology can create jobs.

The Democratic governor will attend a symposium Tuesday on the challenges of building a renewable energy economy. U.S. lawmakers, business leaders and climate change economists also will attend.


Governor Jim Doyle [D-Wisc.] is in Washington, D.C. today and tomorrow to meet with President Obama’s energy, environment and agriculture cabinet to build upon current state, national, and international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote low carbon technologies, and build jobs in the energy and agricultural sectors.

You get the idea – nothing here really about nuclear or any other specific energy source. It’s all about the jobs. But Doyle in particular has been one of those governors interested in moving the nuclear discussion forward at the state level and Granholm has a few plants in her state. And we’re reasonably sure some of the other attendees will have things to say on this issue. In November, candidate Obama made soothing noises to the governors at a similar confab:

Further, we will invest $15 billion each year to catalyze private sector efforts to build a clean energy future. We will invest in solar power, wind power, and next generation biofuels. We will tap nuclear power, while making sure it’s safe. And we will develop clean coal technologies.

Now, we won’t pretend that nuclear energy will be tops of the pops with the Obama administration, and we won’t snatch up every nice comment like dogs waiting to be patted on the head. But we do feel that America is just a few steps behind Europe in recognizing that you cannot get to a plausible energy policy that foregrounds carbon emission reduction and tough deadlines without nuclear energy. All the renewables put together cannot do it (scalability issues, nascent technologies) and clean coal really cannot do it (you can research this one yourself – start here for the most positive assessment imaginable and work your way outward).

And a fair number of governors get that. As does the European Union – and the Arab peninsula – and southeast Asia – etc.

Not from the current meeting, but a gaggle (a flock? a murder?) of governors.

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