CEP is sharing this call to action from a partner organization, the Kansas Rural Center. The KRC has been a state and regional leader on a wide range of issues but most certainly on sustainable agriculture and water issues. Please take a moment to read their action alert and to call Senator Moran and Representative Yoder. You can also read more about all of the issues impacted by the funding planning they are debating now.

Call Senator Moran and Rep. Yoder to Support Conservation Funding!  

 Farmers and the environment both benefit from federal conservation programs. 

Farmers count on them to conserve soil for future generations, keep water and air clean, and create habitat for wildlife – all while farming profitably. As one farmer who uses the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) put it to us: “CSP is a great program for farmers to not only be given credit for what they’re doing, but to give them the incentive to do better.”In the short-sighted budget-cutting frenzy of the last two years, Congress slashed conservation programs by over $1.5 billion! Right now,  our legislators are making decisions about next year’s agriculture budget– including conservation – and they need to hear from you! Kansas Senator Moran and Kansas Rep. Yoder serve on the appropriations committees.   

Your action today will protect crucial conservation funding that supports cleaner waterways, habitat for wildlife, and farms that are more sustainable over the long term.Can we count on you to make two brief calls today?  It takes just a moment – please call Kansas Senator Jerry Moran’s office at (202) 224-6521 and Congressman Kevin Yoder’s office at (202) 225-2865, ask to speak with their agriculture appropriations aides, and share a message like this one:

I am a constituent and a voter. (Let them know if you’re a farmer, too!) Please ask Senator Moran (or Congressman Yoder) to protect Farm Bill conservation programs from cuts. Ask him to oppose further cuts in Fiscal Year 2014, and to not limit mandatory funding for Farm Bill conservation programs. We must protect our natural resources and reward farmers for the environmental benefits they produce – please oppose any further cuts to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and other Farm Bill conservation programs.”

Stay tuned for more opportunities for action – it’s going to take all of us speaking out loud and clear for sustainable agriculture in the weeks to come.Thank you for all that you do,The Kansas Rural Center and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Grassroots TeamP.S. Looking for more details?  (Click here. )After you call, please tell us how it went by e-mailing us at ksrc@rainbowtel.net   oralerts@sustainableagriculture.net

   

posted by Kate Van Cantfort, CEP Program Director
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Good Monday morning.

We had daylights savings this weekend, we had another snow, and I cannot help but feeling spring is just around the corner. With that great feeling is the urgency to get things wrapped up in the Kansas legislature – it can get a little frantic in Topeka between now and late May.

What does that mean for supporters of the Kansas wind industry? It means we have to be on our toes the next couple of weeks. Those great winds we had two weeks ago? Yep, we are starting round 2 now.

In the last week House Bill 2241 was sent to the Appropriations Committee and then was sent back to the Energy and Environment Committee, at the discretion of the House leader despite the vote on the floor which sent the bill to the Utilities and Telecom committee. I know a little political dancing and A LOT to keep up with. What does it all mean?

Two great ways to learn what all of this talk about the RPS and the wind energy means is to attend one of the CEP roundtables – one at JCCC_Energy_Roundtable and one at Cloud_Energy_Roundtable (2). These events are free to attend, lunch is provided, and it is an opportunity to hear facts about the jobs and income wind had brought to Kansas and the attempts to roll back the RPS. This is important information with real time impacts for Kansas communities.

We also ask you to reach out to your Kansas elected officials and let them know you support wind energy in Kansas. We will have more information about contacting your representative later this week.

If you are really fired up about this issue, please join us in Topeka on Thursday, March 14, 2013 for a legislative luncheon. Visit with your representatives. Come early that morning and attend the committee meeting. Contact Dorothy Barnett at barnett [at] climateandenergy.org if you want to join us or if you have questions about the meeting in Topeka.

With all the friction in Kansas about whether or not our state government if going to support wind energy, our neighboring states are moving forward. Nebraska is making sure the industry knows they are open for business.

Read a few great letters to the editor to see what other leaders are saying about the RPS in  Kansas:

Wichita Eagle – KS Representative Nile Dillmore Dist 92

Hutchinson News – Siemens Leadership

Please join us if you can for one of the upcoming events and please keep in touch with your KS representatives.

UPDATE:

The Committee hearing has been moved, for now, until March 19th.

posted by Kate Van Cantfort, CEP Director of Communications and Special Projects

This has been a busy week for CEP and for PTC supporters.

Thank you to the over 600 people who have signed the letter in support of the PTC. We are still reaching for our goal of 5,000 Kansans to have signed. Please do what you can to spread the word!

This week Governor Brownback’s office released a declaration that October is Energy Awareness Month. His office encourages citizens to be aware of energy consumption nd weatherization. CEP appreciates the support Governor Brownback has shown for Kansas as the renewable energy state, the PTC and energy efficiency.

The Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce, where CEP is headquartered and home to the recent Siemen;s layoffs, announced support for a 5 year extension of the PTC. We thank the Chamber for that support of the PTC extension!

This morning the Hutchinson News printed a strong editorial from Dave Kerr. We have included the entier text below.

Pompeo’s Wind Credit Obsession is Embarrassing

Guest column

By Dave Kerr 
U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo’s protestations in defense of his anti-wind-energy efforts might possibly make some theoretical sense, if they were not so riddled with political and practical inconsistencies that it is surprising he’s willing to hang them out for public view – and ridicule.
The first sleight of hand the congressman tries to slip by us is that the wind Production Tax Credit is the same kind of government giveaway as the completely indefensible program that wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on the Solyndra company. The PTC is actually an income tax credit available to utilities and others based on the kilowatt hours of electricity generated using the wind as the “fuel” to produce it. Wind equipment manufacturing companies like Siemens receive no subsidies or loan guarantees or any direct incentives from the federal government. They do benefit when utilities decide to buy and install wind generation equipment, which is clearly influenced to some extent by the PTC.

So, Congressman, please stop throwing Solyndra at us as justification for your position. There is better justification for your saying you are advocating for a tax increase on utilities, which, because they are regulated, will pass on to consumers. While that may be a tortured argument, it’s better than your phony Solyndra argument, which you’ve used in everything you’ve written from the Wall Street Journal to The Hutchinson News.

 

The PTC has actually helped the development of emissions-free electrical power for millions of homes, and the cost of that electricity is guaranteed fixed for 20 years. That’s a guarantee the producers of other fuels for electrical generation would be reluctant to make.

As the multibillion-dollar, 75,000-job wind industry has grown, manufacturers have invested heavily in innovation and technology. Even without the PTC, wind-generated electricity is now cost-competitive with $4-$5 (per mcf) natural gas. While natural gas has been as high as $12 within the last decade, new technology and aggressive drilling currently have it down around $3, and last summer industrial customers were buying it for less than $2. So, at the moment, wind is more expensive.

Congressman Pompeo sat a couple of tables away from me at the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association (KIOGA) annual meeting luncheon a month ago and heard Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Oil and an adviser to Gov. Mitt Romney, say we would lose 30 to 35 percent of our domestic drilling program if their two big tax breaks, the Intangible Drilling Cost and the Percentage Depletion Allowance, were to be taken away. The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation lists these deductions on the same table of energy incentives as the wind Production Tax Credit. Combined, they are worth nearly $2 billion per year versus the $1 billion or so for the PTC. The conservative CATO Institute appears to agree with the congressional analysis.

So, when the congressman piously says he doesn’t want the government to “pick energy winners and losers,” he points to a couple of dinky tax credits for oil and gas that he wants to eliminate along with the wind PTC. He ignores the existence of the Intangible Drilling and Percentage Depletion Allowance. Either his aim is bad or he is playing Clintonesque games of semantics with us. Maybe his aim and his definitions would improve if he were not protecting his status as No. 2 in the entire 435-member U.S. Congress in oil and gas campaign contributions.

Let’s sum it up: Congressman Pompeo claims to want all energy sources to compete on their own with no tax incentives. But he ignores a couple of 90-year-old tax incentives for oil and gas that allow them to drill 35 percent more wells, which creates a glut in natural gas that drives down the price to the lowest levels in a decade. Then he goes on a crusade to do away with the tax incentive for wind generation that has to compete with these very low natural gas prices. The Joint House-Senate Tax Committee lists the oil and gas incentives as costing about $2 billion a year versus the wind incentive’s cost of $1 billion.

Perhaps surprisingly, I agree with the congressman that we should keep the Intangible Drilling Cost and Percentage Depletion Allowance tax incentives for the oil and gas industry. For national security and job creation, domestic sourcing of energy is far better than buying it from far-off lands. Spending vast amounts of our wealth to buy the product from countries that dislike us, to fight wars to maintain our access and for armadas to protect the shipping lanes to bring it to our shores, makes no sense for the future of our country.

Congressman Pompeo should support the wind Production Tax Credit for the same reasons and many more. In a nation running a $1.2 trillion annual deficit, there are endless more lucrative targets for the congressman’s budget efforts. His current obsession with the wind credit in a state that is second only to Texas in potential for harvesting wind energy is an embarrassment.

It’s also bad for the 250 families affected by the layoffs at Siemens, for the merchants of our city, and for the 750 people who would have filled the wind-related jobs that were announced or on the verge of being announced in Newton and Hutchinson.

Dave Kerr is a former president of the Hutchinson / Reno County Chamber of Commerce and a former state senator whose service included a term as Kansas Senate president.

Please remember to sign and share this letter to Representatives Pompeo, Huelskamp, Jenkins and Yoder.

posted by Kate Van Cantfort, CEP Director of Communications & Special Projects

I know it’s been kinda quiet here lately, but you can guess that is just a result of lots of work being done behind the scenes!

Well, let me update you that we have been busy keeping tabs on the Production Tax Credit and the Master Limited Partnership legislation in Congress. We have also been busy working on a stable of outreach materials for our hardworking HART (Heartland Alliance for Regional Transmission) volunteers. Those materials will be revealed later this summer.

While we have been busy with our programs we have also been busy incubating some new efforts. We are not ready for their official kickoff we have made a few new additions to the CEP team! (Yay!)

First, join us in welcoming Ms. Rachel Myslivy as CEP’s new Progam Director. Rachel will be working on our newest projects of:

1) a new Take Charge Challenge targeted at the largest commercial consumers of energy in the 4 state Heartland area. (That’s all we are prepared to share with you – you’ll have to hang around to learn more about this exciting new program!)

2) a new effort to learn about and highlight on-the-ground best practices for energy and water efficiency for farmers in Kansas.

We are excited about the energy and experience Rachel brings to CEP and these new projects.

Read on to learn more about Rachel and join us in welcoming her to the CEP team:

Rachel Myslivy is pursuing a Master’s degree in Religious Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Studies.  Her research focuses on the intersection of religion and environmentalism as seen in religious communities.  She is currently conducting an oral history project documenting the environmental activism of Catholic sisters in Kansas.  This work is funded in part by the Schlessinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the Religion in Kansas Project at the University of Kansas.

For the past seven years, Rachel worked on grant-funded educational research at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning.  Projects included educational evaluation, special education and the transition from school to adult life and adult literacy.  Rachel’s areas of expertise include data analysis and visual representation of data, graphic design, editing and grant proposal preparation.

Rachel serves as the Chair of the Kansas Interfaith Power and Light Steering Committee and is involved in a variety of agricultural, environmental and local educational efforts in her community.

On a personal note, she lives with her family at Wind & Stars Farm, a diversified, small farm in Jefferson County where they raise vegetables, fruit trees, sheep, pigs, chickens and bees using organic methods.  The farm is an ongoing experiment in frugal living, simplicity and sustainability. Rachel is the proud mother of two girls – one in third grade, the other in her third year of college.  She is a knitter, quilter, baker, gardener, beekeeper and food-preserver.

Rachel can be contacted at myslivy@climateandenergy.org.

posted by Kate Van Cantfort, Director of Communications & Special Projects