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Letter: Bill would destroy fossil fuel industry

As President Ronald Reagan would say, "There they go again." The Associated Press reported on June 29 that President Obama is working with several senators to "quietly draft" a version of Cap and Trade deemed "utility-only."

They have been trying for 18 months to force a bill to destroy our fossil fuel industry. The people of the United States and North Dakota are against such a bill. This has not stopped the president and his allies. The worst oil spill in history is wrecking havoc on our country. In true Chicago style, instead of focusing on stopping the leak and cleaning up the mess, it is being used to push another version of Cap and Trade.

This new version of the old bill is aimed directly at North Dakota. A "utility-only" version of Cap and Trade means increased costs for refineries and power plants resulting in at least a 25-40 percent increase in utility costs and thousands of lost jobs for our state.

The "utility-only" version is actually worse for our state than the original Cap and Trade bill. It will disproportionally affect North Dakota consumers and devastate our economy. If signed into law, North Dakota will no longer have the lowest retail electricity rates in the country, our rich oil and gas reserves will not be fully developed, and North Dakota economy will be forever harmed.

We are doing it right in North Dakota. In addition to our strong fossil fuel industries, wind, biofuels and other renewable energy sources continue to increase in our state. North Dakota's balanced approach to energy development should be modeled by Washington, not punished.

It is time for Sens. Conrad and Dorgan to demand the president deliver a realistic policy that leads us toward genuine energy independence, not one that will wipe out our state's economy.

Brian P. Kalk, North Dakota Public Service commissioner, Bismarck