Pawlenty opposes climate change bill

Gov. Tim Pawlenty
Gov. Tim Pawlenty answers questions after announcing that he will not seek a third term as governor of Minnesota.
MPR Photo/Steve Mullis

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has come out against the climate change bill now moving through Congress.

The governor sent a letter to Minnesota's congressional delegation urging them to reject the Waxman-Markey climate bill, saying the bill would place undue burdens on the economy, without doing enough to address the risks of climate change.

Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said Minnesota has shown the way by emphasizing energy conservation and renewables.

"While the governor believes that we should reform our energy system, we have to do that in a way that is thoughtful and deliberative and low-cost, and doesn't harm our economy in the process," McClung said.

Environmental groups are criticizing Pawlenty's position. At least one environmentalist says Pawlenty is breaking his promise to provide leadership on climate change.

Chris Cox, the Minnesota representative for the Pew Environment Group, said negotiations over the bill -- notably with Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson over farm issues -- have made it weak enough that some environmentalists won't support it.

Cox said Pawlenty took an early leadership role on climate change, but now he's obstructing progress.

"What we'd like to see is for him to keep his promise, to keep fighting for Minnesota taking a leadership role in addressing climate change," Cox said.

Pawlenty says the bill would make energy more expensive and do little to address the threat of climate change.

The House is expected to vote on the bill tomorrow.