Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Western States Go Green

According to an article in SFGate, Five western states--Arizona, New Mexico, Washington and Oregon -- announced an agreement to create a regional effort to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement is not as sweeping or strong as new regulations in California, however, leading one environmental advocate, V. John White of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, to say the announcement "may be more sizzle than steak."

Unveiled at a meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C., the agreement calls for creating a regional goal to reduce emissions and for developing a Western market that could allow companies to buy and sell carbon emission credits. Similar markets operating in the European Union and getting started in the Northeast United States allow companies that dramatically lower their emissions to sell credits to other companies.

"This is a huge jump forward from just California going it alone," said Dan Skopec, undersecretary of Schwarzenegger's Environmental Protection Agency.
But it's not clear whether businesses in other states will buy or sell emissions credits if they are not required to lower emissions, and none of the other states has an anti-global warming law similar to California's. The green politics of California -- where polls show widespread support for tackling global warming -- may not translate as easily to other states.
All four governors have signed executive orders that include goals for reducing emissions, but none seems poised to quickly enact regulations with teeth. A spokesman for Kulongoski said Monday that a law requiring reductions in Oregon was likely a few years from enactment.
The states have all made efforts to reduce greenhouse gases in some ways. Washington voters passed an initiative last fall to increase renewable energy, for example, and New Mexico is proposing to create tax credits to help develop alternative fuels.
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

1 comment:

Brian, Corvallis community said...

The OSU Student Senate declined to vote on a student fee to support green energy at Oregon State Univ. The measure will be forwarded to a direct student vote provided enough signatures are obtained.

from the Oregon State Univ. Barometer

The Environmental Task Force seeks approval from general election, bypassing senate
Aleks Cherednichenko
Issue date: 2/27/07 Section: News
PrintEmail Article Tools Page 1 of 1 The Green Energy Fee, which proponents say would help convert OSU's power sources to 100 percent renewable forms of energy and was proposed by ASOSU's Environmental Affairs task force. will not be voted on by the ASOSU Undergraduate Senate.

Instead, the task force has decided to take the proposed fee through the initiative process.

"This student fee would help pay for the difference in price between conventional energy and clean energy," said Andrea Norris, director of Environmental Affairs task force and a senior majoring in fish and wildlife studies.

Over 20 volunteers for the task force will be collecting signatures in the MU Quad today, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon.

"We need to collect 969 signatures, that's five percent of OSU's student body, in order to get the green energy fee on the ASOSU general election ballot," Norris said. If the measure passes, energy providers across the state, who supply wind and solar power, would bid for a contract with OSU.

"One of the potential bidders could be the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, which generates mostly wind power," Norris said. "The contract wouldn't involve any on site production, we would just be purchasing renewable energy," Norris said.

The task force does plan to ask the bidding energy providers for "re-investment funds" which would give money back to OSU for projects that would lead to on-site renewable energy structures.

On Feb. 23, the Student Incidental Fees Committee decided not to vote on the Green Energy Fee proposal.

"I think that it probably turned out for the best, this initiative will now be decided by students," said Alan Dennis, Environmental Affairs task force staff volunteer. "Why shouldn't students decide on issues like this?"

"I'm really excited to get this issue out on the ballot," Norris said. "I'm confident that we can get through to the students that wouldn't normally have voted at all."

The Student Incidental Fees Committee decided that the green energy fee proposal didn't fit the guidelines of educational, physical or cultural development for OSU.

"As Undergraduate Senate chair I don't get to vote on the issues, but I disagreed with SIFC's interpretation of the proposal," said Julien Deveraux, ASOSU Undergraduate Senate chair

"The proposal should have qualified as educational development," Deveraux said, although he disagrees with the Student Incidental Fees Committee's decision, he does think that the proposed green energy fee should be optional.

"I would have liked to see the Undergraduate Senate discuss this issue, but I don't know if the task force would have enough time to put the proposal on the ballot if it went through the Senate," Deveraux said. "I do, however, think that this is something we should review."