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Letter: Brian Davis provides more of the same

King Turkey Day featured speakers Brian Davis (left) and Rep. Tim Walz hold up a turkey following their time behind the podium Saturday afternoon in Worthington. The two are vying for the 1st Congressional District seat in this year's election.

Have you noticed the wind turbines springing up across the political ads this fall? As a small wind producer in southern Minnesota, I have noticed that this election season, the wind turbine quickly became the universal political symbol for renewable, clean energy. The mere glimpse of those propeller blades churning in the background of a commercial is supposed to convey to us that a candidate is for change in energy policy and against more of the same giveaways to Big Oil.

But slapping a wind turbine on a flyer doesn't really mean a candidate stands for change. One candidate in particular is using the symbol to pervert the truth: Brian Davis.

Dr. Brian Davis claims to be an energy industry expert and a proponent of renewable energy sources. Voters should be wary -- with Davis, there is always a "but."

He's said repeatedly he's for renewable energy sources, but he claims that the wind industry or other renewable fuels industries are being "propped up" by government mandates, which he is against (Lacrosse Radio Interview, 7/17/08 and "Michael and King Radio Show," 5/31/08). What Davis means is he's against pushing our electricity providers away from coal and into energy sources such as wind. He's OK with the status quo.

A friend of mine showed me a flyer Davis mailed to him before the recent primary election. It had a great big wind turbine on it. But, just weeks before, Dr. Davis was on Minnesota Public Radio saying he wanted to cut federal research dollars and tax credits for the wind industry (Minnesota Public Radio, 7/20/08). Dr. Davis should know that in the wind industry, much like the medical industry, if you cut money for research and expansion of a new and promising technology, the opportunity will soon be lost. And what you're left with is the fossil fuel status quo, which by the way, is very heavily subsidized by us taxpayers.

Tim Walz is the real change agent when it comes to energy policy. At the beginning of 2007, when gas prices were a few dollars lower and energy wasn't such a hot topic, Rep. Walz introduced a bill to extend and expand the Wind Production Tax Credit. His bill will make it easier for us to expand the wind industry in southern Minnesota by making small producers eligible for the same tax credits currently available to big international corporations that put up turbines on our prairies.

So while Dr. Davis is worried about "propping up" the wind industry, Rep. Walz recognized the desire of small producers to enter the market and worked to make it possible. He understands that a simple change to our tax code can bring coveted "green collar" jobs to southern Minnesota. That's change.

Rep. Walz also recognized the need for continued research to make wind turbines even more efficient and less expensive to produce. That's why he helped write the House Bipartisan Energy Plan, which expands drilling as a means to generate royalties. The bill takes these royalties and invests them in renewable energy research to the tune of $1 trillion. An investment of this magnitude in wind, solar, geothermal, nuclear, hybrid and other renewable energy technologies is unprecedented. It is change that will end our dependence on foreign oil.

Oh -- Brian Davis? He said this bipartisan energy plan, which is supported by 135 Democrats and Republicans in Congress, along with the Chamber of Commerce, is "too complicated."

I'm proud to see candidates like Rep. Walz, who really stand for change in the energy industry, use the wind turbine as the symbol of that change. His plan to support renewable energy, particularly community based development, will help create jobs, generate income revenue, keep our energy dollars in our communities, and produce long term low cost energy for rural Minnesota. Now that is change.