Kucinich cheers Ore. renewable-energy plan

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An ambitious renewable-energy plan unveiled by the state of Oregon over the weekend “has the potential to save state taxpayers billions of dollars and create an entirely new energy industry that would create jobs and fuel the state’s economy,” Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich said.

Kucinich, campaigning in Oregon, said he has reviewed a draft plan released Saturday by the Oregon Office of Energy and found it “exciting, both in terms of the state’s bold commitment to clean energy technologies and in its potential to boost the economy and enhance the quality of life.”

The plan, requested by Gov. Ted Kulongoski, sets ambitious state-wide goals to achieve by 2006, including:

· 300 megawatts of wind energy – enough to power about 300,000 homes
· 50 megawatts of biomass-fueled electric generation
· 10 megawatts of environmentally sustainable hydroelectric generation (mainly small hydro projects associated with irrigation ditches)
· 5 megawatts of biogas from wastewater treatment, dairies and landfills
· 100 million gallons of annual ethanol production
· 15 million gallons of biodiesel production from Oregon crops

“Governor Kulongoski and his administration are in the forefront of what should be our national energy policy,” Kucinich said, “if only the leaders of our nation had the same foresight and the same willingness to act in the public interest.”

“What’s happening in Oregon has national and international implications for our country’s energy independence,” said Kucinich, who has made renewable energy one of the cornerstone issues of his own campaign.

Kucinich said a national energy policy should include new and additional investment in “alternative” energy sources, such as hydrogen, solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and ocean. “There has to be a renewable energy portfolio of at least 20% by 2010,” Kucinich said. “Clean energy technologies will create new jobs and will reduce our dependence on non-renewable energy sources, including foreign oil.”

According to the Oregon report, Oregonians spent $4.1 billion on oil products in 2000, and $1.1 billion on natural gas that same year. In 2002, Oregonians spent $2.9 billion on electricity. The vast majority of that money left the state, according to the report.

By creating new industries, “Oregon can create thousands of new jobs and invest those dollars right here in the state,” Kucinich said.
Additionally, the state will save even more money by lowering the cost of pollution-related health care expenses and spending less to meet clean air and clean water standards. “Plus,” Kucinich added, “these new technologies will preserve and enhance the quality of life in Oregon, and attract new businesses and new investment.”

“This is a model for what should be happening all across this nation,” Kucinich said. “It’s a credit to the leaders and to the people of Oregon that it’s happening right here, right now.”