Diane Wagner of the Rome News-Tribune reports on the last of the public meetings on the state energy plan:
Council hears clean, cheap energy ideas
10/04/06By Diane Wagner, Rome News-Tribune Staff Writer Respond to this storyEmail this story to a friend
Click here to see the the State Energy Strategy Web site.
The Georgia Energy Policy Committee’s public hearing at Coosa Valley Technical College on Tuesday drew nearly 60 people interested in helping to shape the state’s energy strategy.
Speakers, ranging from environmentalists to economic development officials, agreed on the basic goal — affordable, clean and reliable energy for now and the future. The differences came in how to achieve that goal.
“This issue transcends politics. ... We are on the brink of leaving our children and grandchildren a devastating environmental legacy,” said Dr. Thomas Farmer, president of the Coosa Basin River Initiative.
Farmer presented the committee with a resolution adopted by the Medical Association of Georgia representing more than 7,000 physicians. The resolution expresses concern with the health effects from coal-fired power plants and calls for an increased focus on conservation and energy efficiency.
Several speakers, including an architect and a manufacturer of hybrid buses, said incentive programs and tax breaks are needed to boost the use of alternative fuels and renewable resources.
Supporters of nuclear power also were out in force. Kevin Evans, a Rome developer who described himself as “pro-environment” and “pro-progress,” said nuclear plants can provide cheap energy to keep Georgia competitive in attracting new business and industry.
Sam Freeman, speaking for the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce, said nuclear energy must be a significant part of the diverse energy mix in the state. And Steve Kemp of United Community Bank reiterated the need for a balanced program aimed at energy independence.
“We want to encourage renewables, but we also need coal-fired and nuclear plants for a safe, efficient supply of energy,” Kemp said. “We can’t wait until we max out these resources. Power plants take years to build, so we should do what we can on the regulatory side to ease the burdens.”
The energy committee hearing Tuesday was the last of five held around the state to take comments on the proposed comprehensive energy strategy.
Paul Burks, director of the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, said the 18-member committee will review all comments and come up with “a third and final draft” to present to Gov. Sonny Perdue in mid-December.
How interesting..........Mr. Evans might be a future politician. He sounds like "Mr. Everything" to everyone. I hope he's at least sincere.