Clean Energy Path May Prove Profitable for Arizona
Phoenix, Ariz. - As the Senate begins debate on energy policy, USPIRG joins with a coalition energy experts, consumer groups and environmentalists to call on both Arizona Senators to support an energy policy that will put the country and Arizona on a clean energy path.
USPIRG highlighted the positive impacts a clean energy path could have on Arizona’s economy, job market, environment and our public health. Standing in front of the Toyota Prius a “hybrid” car (runs on combination of gas and self generated electricity and is estimated to get 50 miles per gallon), an array of solar cells, and a wind turbine, the groups discussed the potential to use new technologies to meet the nation’s power needs. “We have a great opportunity to start to shift our future energy production from dirty, unreliable, and dangerous fossil and nuclear fuels to a new energy future. By combining the use of renewable power and better auto efficiency we could protect our environment, create jobs, and ensure long term energy security.” Said Katherine Smolski, Arizona Field Organizer for USPIRG.
The coalition specifically called for a clean energy agenda that includes the following principles:
Support a provision in the Senate energy bill to increase auto fuel economy standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2013. In that year, the standard would save one million barrels of oil each day-more than 12 times the projected daily yield from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 2013. The 35 mpg standard would also save Arizona consumers $72 million dollars at the gas pump annually.
Support a renewable portfolio standard that requires an increasing percentage of electricity to come from clean renewable sources, reaching 20% of power generation by 2020.
This standard, combined with energy efficiency policies, would reduce global warming pollution from power plants by one third and could save consumers an additional $70 billion per year by 2020, compared to business as usual. Arizona consumers would also save $2.5 billion in lower energy bills from increasing the use of renewable energy to 20 percent of the US energy supply by 2020.
Protect environmentally sensitive areas like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas drilling. Environmentally sensitive areas like the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge, national monuments and other wild public lands are crucial for wildlife habitat, drinking water, and outdoor recreation.
Support increased funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources and the elimination of subsidies for nuclear, oil, coal and gas. Since 1948, more than 82% of U.S. Department of Energy subsidies have gone to fossil fuel and nuclear power. A sound energy policy would invest in the clean and renewable sources of energy that offer long-term solutions, not in polluting industries that are the source of our current energy problems.
“America faces significant energy challenges. We need a smarter, cleaner energy future,” said Rob Smith, Southwest regional director of the Sierra Club “not more of the same old energy problems.”
USPIRG is a nonprofit, non-partisan national public interest advocacy group. More information on USPIRG’s Campaign for a New Energy Future can be found at www.newenergyfuture.com.
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