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Environmental Pressure on Carnahan

January 17, 2002
By: Frank Sainworla
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Just days after her formal announcement for the U.S. Senate, Sen. Jean Carnahan is coming under pressure from a citizen activist organization to take a public stance on renewable energy programs.

At a Jefferson City news conference, the Missouri Public Interest Research Group called on Carnahan to vote to protect the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, implement tight pollution controls on fossil fuel-fired power plants and raise vehicle fuel standards.

The group said a new federal energy bill should create what they called "clear energy path".

The energy bill is expected to be debated in March by the U.S. Senate.

In a later interview, Carnahan said a federal Clear Air Act was in the best interest of the U.S. and the environment.

The Rolla Democrat said she supported a ban on drilling in Alaskan site and searching for alternative energy sources.

"Having a sound energy policy and one that depends on getting, finding some alternative solutions, alternative renewable energy, I think this secret. This is way we have to go," she said.

Energy experts from MoPIRG argued that America's current energy policy is only provides benefits for big energy companies, but does not help working families and reduce the effects of global warming.

"Washington intents tipping the playing field in favor of subsidies to existing conventional energy sources," said Eban Goodstein, an economics associate professor at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

MoPIRG attacked the administration's refusal to sign the Kyoto agreement to reduce the prospects of global warming.

Kyoto critics have argued the agreement, signed by about 140 nations, would create massive job loss and hurt U.S. industries.

MoPIRG described arguments raised by the Bush Administration against the Kyoto agreement as "unpersuasive".

The St. Louis-based group said that the use of renewable energy sources like bio-fuel and wind power would instead improve jobs and increase energy efficiency.