Candidate Positions on Alternative Energy
The following positions reflect those used for each candidate in the Select A Candidate survey. They come from the candidates; public statements, Web sites, and responses to Minnesota Public Radio questionnaires. In some cases, candidiates have failed to respond to inquiries, and their position is noted as "No known opinion."
Question: Which option most closely matches your plan for meeting future energy needs?
ANSWER OPTION: In the short-term we need an "all of the above" approach, including domestic oil drilling and investment in research and development on new/renewable energy sources. In the long-term, however, innovation--moving beyond oil--is our only route to lasting energy security.
ANSWER OPTION: Renewable energy sources are important but those sources alone cannot end our dependence on foreign oil. Nuclear power must be a part of our energy future.
CANDIDATE'S POSITION: An article on hometownsource.com describes Coleman's position: U.S. Senator Norm Coleman supports nuclear energy. "I believe [nuclear power is] absolutely critical to end our dependence on foreign oil," said Coleman. "It's a national security issue," he said.
"If you're committed to ending dependence on foreign oil, you have to support nuclear," said Coleman. "You can't do it all with renewables, you can't do it all with wind, those are all critical pieces," said Coleman. "But you got to do nuclear," he said.
"It's clean. It's safe, it's affordable. It cuts our dependence on foreign energy. It also protects the environment," he said.
"I tell people, 'The French are not braver than we are,'" said Coleman, referring to the extensive use of nuclear energy in France.
The U.S. will be building new nuclear plants in the future, Coleman believes. "Waste is an issue," he said.
Opposition to Yucca Mountain, Coleman opined, is more philosophical than on account of the waste. "And I think that's unfortunate," he said.
Coleman looks to technology to solve nuclear waste issues. "I think you have to move forward with this. One, Yucca Mountain, move forward aggressively with that," he said. "On the other hand, with the understanding, just as with renewables, we're looking beyond the horizon where the future is going (with technology)," he said. "I think you have to do the same thing with nuclear," Coleman said. "I'm very, very confident on the technology side," he said.
"I think it's a straw man to somehow argue your opposition to nuclear is based on waste," said Coleman.
ANSWER OPTION: I believe we should continue to develop corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels, invest heavily in wind power, tidal power and solar energy. We should have higher fuel efficiency standards and explore nuclear energy.
CANDIDATE'S POSITION: In a written statement to MPR Franken said, "I support an Apollo program to identify new sources of renewable energy and develop the technologies we have already identified. That means continuing to work to make corn ethanol more efficient, but it also means developing cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels. It means investing in solar energy and tidal energy and, especially in Minnesota, wind power. We can improve our national security, address global warming, create a new class of high-tech, high-paying jobs, save our environment, and revitalize our manufacturing sector. We should be making wind turbines at the Ford plant in St. Paul and putting them up all over Minnesota. I see this not only as a chance to address the energy crisis, but as an opportunity for Minnesota to be at the forefront of this exciting new wave of technology and innovation."
In a separate statement Franken said, "I'm not reflexively against nuclear power. I do worry about the issue of nuclear waste. It is my hope that we'll develop technologies and strategies for dealing with this waste. In the meantime, we should be open to nuclear power, although I'd rather focus on conservation and renewable energy. As Al Gore says, there's no silver bullet for dealing with climate change, but there is silver buckshot - and nuclear energy can be a silver pellet, if we can find a way to deal with the waste."