Miller-Meeks Pushes Switch to Wind Power
Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who has endorsed a plan to shift more than 20 percent of America's electric production from natural gas to wind power, said in a visit to Cedar Rapids last week that converting to homegrown energy sources is in the best interest of the nation's economy, environment and security
Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa Republican challenging U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack in Iowa's 2nd District, toured Clipper Windpower in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, calling it an example of how Iowa and the nation benefit by moving away from reliance on foreign oil.
"We have the capacity here, in our district, to bring wind power online, create jobs and to make it profitable while creating jobs and enhancing national security," she said.
Clipper officials told her there is adequate wind power potential in the Upper Midwest to meet the nation's energy needs. A key to increasing electricity from wind, however, is getting electricity from wind turbine farms to the national transmission grid, Miller-Meeks said.
She called for a federal-state effort, similar to building the interstate highway system, to build wind-farm-to-transmission-grid access lines.
Cleaner, cheaper electricity would be a boon to the environment, Miller-Meeks said, and could create thousands of jobs in the manufacturing sector. In addition to nearly 400 jobs at Clipper, she said, jobs are being created in Mount Pleasant and West Branch, where wind turbine parts are being manufactured.
Weaning the country from imported oil would reduce im ports by 38 percent and save the nation $300 billion a year at current fuel prices, she said.
That would lead to more job creation in the manufacturing sector, which could be more competitive with manufacturers in cheap-energy countries, she said.
Miller-Meeks admitted that considering an all-electric future seems like reading a science-fiction comic book.
"You're asking yourself, 'Can we really get there?' and what we're seeing here is that we can get there," she said. But "Congress isn't getting us there. We're paying $3.79 a gallon for a gallon of gas ... and it's actually uplifting because we feel good because it's under $4.
"We need leaders who know it's an issue not just for our economy, not just for the environment, but that it impacts us as a nation," Miller-Meeks said. "Even if gas drops to $2 a gallon, we still need to go forward with a policy that gets us to energy independence."