Thursday, October 14, 2004

Sierra Club pushes renewable energy

By Dan Klepal
Enquirer staff writer

A cleaner environment and a national policy promoting clean-fuel technology will create a million jobs and save the country billions of dollars between now and 2025, according to a report released Wednesday by the Sierra Club and the United Steelworkers of America.

The study, done by the nonprofit organization Redefining Progress, says a sound energy policy that pushes for renewable energy sources will create 65,000 jobs in Ohio and an additional 10,600 jobs in Kentucky.

"These are big stakes," said Glen Brand, Midwest representative for the Sierra Club. "We need to invest heavily in energy efficiency and commit to real gains in renewable energy sources" such as solar, wind and biofuels.

But Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, says the Sierra Club doesn't have much credibility on this issue. Segal said the Sierra Club is really trying to eliminate coal as a source of electric power. That, he said, would be disastrous in Ohio by eliminating jobs and driving up the cost of electricity.

""This is like a Through the Looking Glass report: It's not at all a realistic look at what would happen if the extreme environmental views were adopted in Ohio," Segal said.

Brand said it would be impossible to eliminate coal as an energy source.

What the report pushes for is creating technology to make it burn more cleanly.

Bill Hocevar, assistant district director for the steelworkers union, said he believes the report.

"We're being held captive by the oil industry," Hocevar said. "This country has to establish its own way of protecting itself."

The Ohio Coal Association agrees the country needs to increase its reliance on domestic energy sources, said president Mike Carey.

The way to do that, he said, is by using more coal.

"The suggestion that we can use intermittent power sources like solar and wind power to supply the rapidly increasing demands of Ohioans for electricity is far-fetched, at best," he said.


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