SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota's candidates for U.S. Senate hold diverse positions on the government's role in energy development, from advocating a hands-off approach to supporting the regulation of power plants' carbon emissions.
The four people seeking the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson are Democrat Rick Weiland, a Sioux Falls businessman; Republican former Gov. Mike Rounds; and two people running as independents — former Republican U.S. Sen. Larry Pressler and former Republican state Sen. Gordon Howie.
Here's what they had to say about energy policy:
Weiland said large oil companies have been writing the nation's energy policy, and until that changes, it's going to be difficult to develop a smart approach that works both for the people and the planet.
The U.S. has an opportunity to transition from fossil fuels to more renewable sources, he said, but big oil companies don't like it because it affects their profits. Weiland supports the development of wind and solar power, cellulosic ethanol and conservation measures.
"If you level the playing field and get money out of it, the country will do the right thing because it will all be driven by good science," he said.
Weiland served from 2006 to 2012 as CEO of the International Code Council, an association that develops model codes and standards for buildings. Weiland said he pushed the organization to develop a green building code to encourage more sustainable development.
"Consume less and invest in more renewable sources," he said.
Rounds said government should encourage all energy development, including coal and domestic oil as well alternative sources such as ethanol, biodiesel and wind.
He said the new rule under President Barack Obama's administration to limit carbon emissions from power plants in an effort to reduce the pollutants blamed for global warming is a big mistake.
Wind energy is an important part of the country's electricity mix, Rounds said, but the nation needs a high percentage of its energy to come from firm resources such as coal-fired and hydroelectric plants.
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