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Sustainable Energy Policies Debated By State Governments

Energy usage has become THE hot issue. As the price for gas and home heating oil climb into the statosphere, lots of folks are praying for relief. Will the government provide that relief? In his recent State of the Union address, President Bush declared that the United States is"addicted to oil." Lots of people thought that signaled a new push by the Bush administration to address the issues of how we're going to keep the lights on and the cars rolling in the 21st century. Unfortuantely, those hopes largely fizzled after the speech when no new initiative or programs were actually put into motion. Many state lawmakers, impatient with the federal government's slow to non-existent response to our "addiction" to oil, have begun to take things into their own hands.

State lawmakers, many from so-called Democratic "blue" states, have started passing regulations for power plant and car emissions. They're also requiring some energy to be created by renewable techniques such as wind and solar. Energy efficiency requirements for household appliances are also being discussed. So far, the federal government has been happy to let the state legislatures pick up the slack on environmental concerns. "I don't see anything wrong with the states being involved," commented Senator Pete Domenici (R-N.

), who is currently chairman of the federal Energy and Natural Resources Committee. While some argue that state regulations will not have an impact nationally on greenhouse gas emissions, others say that if the requirements are enacted in enough states there will be a significant impact. And is looks like states ARE having an impact, even if global warming hasn't come to a screeching halt. Several manufacturers have adopted new nationwide regulations to avoid having to customize products for each state. "If we can't get the federal government to act, then we have to take action in any way we can," said Gina McCarthy, the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection in Connecticut. Let's just hope all this boils down to better prices for consumers.


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