Saturday, December 13, 2008

President Clinton joins Governor Beebe to announce plan to bring energy-efficiency to state government

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Clinton, State Announce Energy Efficiency Plan

By Peggy Harris
The Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK -- Former President Bill Clinton announced a partnership Saturday between his foundation and Arkansas to retrofit state buildings and adopt energy-efficient practices, part of what he said was the country’s “greatest opportunity” to rejuvenate its economy and create a safer, cleaner world.

Clinton joined Gov. Mike Beebe and state Rep. Kathy Webb, co-chair of the Arkansas Governor’s Commission on Global Warming, in announcing the partnership and urging state and business leaders to join them in bigger task of creating “green jobs,” reducing dependence on foreign oil, and stopping the advance of global warming.
Clinton said the foundation’s Clinton Climate Initiative, created in 2006, has been working with 1,100 cities, including New York, where the housing authority is upgrading residences with energy-efficient windows and lighting along with “green roofs” to reduce energy costs. He said a loan for the work will be paid off with money saved in utility costs.
In Pennsylvania, he said, the foundation was helping find ways to sequester carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. He said the Clinton Climate Initiative provides the technical expertise and the purchasing power for its partners to secure materials and environmental technologies at discounted costs.

“No one is proposing to do anything in Arkansas that is not good business, that doesn’t make sense, that doesn’t create jobs and save money over the long run,” Clinton told an audience of hundreds at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum.

He said six countries, including Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Sweden, will be able to meet international goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because they shifted to “a new energy economy” and realized great energy savings and job creation.

“This is the greatest opportunity we’ve had since we mobilized since World War II to completely redo our economy,” he said. “And if we do this right, I think you’ll have more growth than we did when I was president, and more jobs.”

Both the former president and Beebe recognized J.D. Lowery of Maumelle, a graduate student at the Clinton School of Public Service, for suggesting a partnership between the foundation and the state after Lowery worked on a Clinton Climate Initiative in Australia.

Beebe said the partnership coincides with strides the state has already made to reduce energy consumption and do less harm to the environment. He said Pennsylvania has been working with the foundation on a limited basis, but Arkansas will be the first state to join forces with the foundation on a larger scale.

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