Environment Colorado Calls For A Clean Energy Future, Not More Subsidies To Polluting Industries

For Immediate Release

DENVER— As Americans face high gasoline and home heating prices, Environment Colorado called on President Bush to promote a smarter cleaner energy future, instead of promoting expensive, dangerous nuclear power.

“Consumers across the country are doing their part by carpooling, driving more fuel efficient cars and weatherizing homes. States are doing their part by increasing funding for home heating and weatherization programs and setting standards for more efficient appliances,” said Anna Aurilio, Environment Colorado’s National Legislative Director. “It’s time for Congress and the Bush Administration to stop picking our pockets to reward big energy companies and start doing their part by harnessing innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies,” she added.

Environment Colorado also called for states to take the lead in promoting a Clean Energy Future. “The Bush Administration policies will do nothing to reduce high energy prices,” said Matt Garrington, Field Organizer for Environment Colorado. “States must take the lead on setting the right priorities. The cheapest, cleanest and quickest way Colorado can address high energy prices is through energy efficiency.”

Environment Colorado is supporting the HB06-1147, the Gas Utility Energy Efficiency Act, which would create incentives for natural gas utilities in Colorado.

“If we invest in natural gas efficiency today through House Bill 1147, households and businesses could save $560 million by 2020,” continued Garrington. “And by reducing demand for natural gas, we can lighten pressures to drill on public lands such as the Artic Refuge and Colorado’s Roan Plateau.”

Conversely, Environment Colorado’s analysis of the energy bill signed by the President last summer shows that it will cost taxpayers and give the oil and gas industry at least $4 billion in new subsidies, while the nuclear industry would get at least $12 billion. There were no provisions in the bill to increase gas mileage standards or to guarantee an increase in renewable energy generation.

“So far, the Bush Administration and Congress have lavished billions in new subsidies for Big Oil and the nuclear industry, while giving short shrift to near term clean energy solutions,” said Aurilio. “It’s time for President Bush to break America’s oil habit by picking up a pen and doubling gas mileage standards. American consumers will spend $8.7 billion more than they should at the gas pump in 2006 because President Bush has opposed meaningful increases in miles per gallon standards,” she added.

The President called for the construction of new nuclear power plants in his speech tonight. Environment Colorado has opposed new nuclear power plants because they are expensive, dangerous and generate highly radioactive waste. A Department of Energy study found that 75 U.S. nuclear power plants experienced construction cost overruns totaling $100 billion. The Energy Information Administration estimates that it will take at least nine years to build a new nuclear power plant.

“America’s consumers are struggling to pay their energy bills and need relief now,” said Aurilio. “Energy efficiency is the quickest, cheapest cleanest way of meeting our energy needs. The last thing we need is more expensive and dangerous nuclear power plants that won’t come online for a decade,” said Aurilio.

Environment Colorado is supporting a several clean energy solutions at the state level, including:

Incentivize Natural Gas and Electricity Energy Efficiency Programs
Stimulate the implementation of energy efficiency programs for residential and small commercial customers by electric and natural gas utilities in Colorado.

Support Energy Efficiency for Low Income Families
Secure funding for home weatherization and efficiency measures for low income Coloradans.

Promote Clean Energy Technologies 
Support a clean energy fund to promote solar, wind, and geothermal technologies.

Alternative Fuels Standard
Promote the use of farm fuels such as biodiesel that will help Colorado reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Statewide Energy Plan
Support the development of a statewide energy plan that promotes renewables and energy efficiency.