At a recent press conference at the headquarters of the Alaska Energy Authority in Anchorage, Gov. Sarah Palin outlined a plan seeking to produce half of Alaska's electricity from renewable sources by 2025. "It's time to move our rural communities off of expensive diesel whenever we can," she said.
Palin and her energy advisor Steven Haagenson both conceded that the plan isn't actually a plan for action, but rather a list of resources for local communities to develop their own solutions. Still, the proposal--a 245-page document drafted by Haagenson--is being praised by environmentalists for its emphasis on moving away from fossil fuels.
Kate Troll, executive director of the Alaska Conservation Alliance, called it "a very forward-thinking energy plan" in a statement to the Juneau Empire. Likewise, a new entry in the Sierra Club's Green Life blog proclaims, "Looks like the Republicans' 'Drill, baby, drill' is growing up."
With many Alaskans concerned over fluctuating energy prices, the environment has been a major focus for Palin as of late. In her State of the State address on Thursday, she argued:
"Ironically, our people are blessed with owning the richest natural resources in the country; here we're getting ready to flow four-and-a-half billion cubic feet of gas every day in a huge line; yet we've been more vulnerable than other Americans to every rise and fall in energy prices. Even though we own the resources."
She also expressed the need once again for Alaskans to utilize renewable energy, stating that "America needs energy: affordable, abundant and secure. With international conflicts, war, and environmental concerns, laws and markets seek safe, clean energy, and that's what we offer."
It's too soon to tell how successful the governor's new energy plan will be, but Palin is optimistic. "This is huge," she told her audience at the energy press conference. "It should be greatly appreciated by all Alaskans."
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