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Sen. Salazar highlights PHEVs: "cornerstone technology"
Oct 14, 2005 (From the CalCars-News archive)
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Salazar is a member of the Senatee Energy Committee­articles/­2005/­10/­13/­news/­c_u_and_boulder/­news4.txt Salazar visits Chamber By RICHARD VALENTY Colorado Daily Staff Writer Thursday, October 13, 2005 8:10 PM MDT

Colorado's junior U.S. Senator Ken Salazar, considered a moderate Democrat, visited Boulder's Chamber of Commerce Thursday and offered kind words for legislation many people on the political left have savaged.

President Bush signed a federal energy bill in August, criticized by some as being too generous to fossil fuel companies while not creating strong enough incentives for production of alternative energy sources.

Salazar told a crowd of about 40 people Wednesday that the bill was "imperfect" but a good start towards some semblance of energy independence.

"We have very much neglected the energy challenges facing this nation for the last three decades," said Salazar. "This bill has some of the strongest conservation measures we've ever seen in federal legislation."

Salazar said the bill contains four effective "cornerstones" that should lead to better use of energy in America.

His first cornerstone was conservation.

Salazar said the bill contains incentives for creation of energy-efficient homes and commercial buildings, and sets efficiency standards for a wide range of building appliances.

He said efficiency is important in part because an average of about percent" of energy used is wasted.

Salazar was especially enthusiastic about Colorado's role in his second cornerstone -renewable energy. He said the federal bill puts the nation's "shoulders" behind renewables, but gave the state kudos for passing the renewable energy standard Amendment 37 in 2004 and taking the initiative on other renewable projects.

For example, Salazar said the state's rural economies are growing as a result of projects such as Colorado's first ethanol plant, to be opened in Sterling, Colo., in early November. He said five other ethanol plants are on the state's drawing board, and said they could be up and running in a year or two.

Also, he said wind electricity projects in Lamar and Peetz have both created jobs and saved fossil fuels, and said Front Range institutions have a valuable role to play as well.

"The expertise at CU and NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) in Golden will create opportunities for the private sector," said Salazar.

Salazar said his third cornerstone, technology, also offers the business community serious opportunities to make money and save resources.

He gave special mention to the plug-in hybrid vehicles being developed in California, which he said will be able to get up to 250 miles per gallon. The vehicles are different from most hybrids on the market now in that owners plug the car into an electric outlet overnight, allowing the car to run for longer periods of time on electricity before requiring fuel.

Salazar had fewer kind words for his fourth cornerstone - development of new natural resources.

"That's the part of the bill I didn't agree with, said Salazar.

He said Coloradans will likely see increased development of state oil shale resources in the near future. He said Shell is beginning a pilot oil shale program using technology to heat the shale, loosening the oil without disturbing the surface.

Salazar was on a tight schedule and had little time for questions, but former Boulder City Councilwoman and local Democratic party activist Sally Martin asked Salazar if Americans will see a push for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in the future, since it wasn't included in the energy bill.

Salazar said there weren't enough "yes" votes in the Senate to get the bill through with ANWR drilling included, but said it's likely ANWR language will be included in budget reconciliation legislation coming up in "two to three weeks."

Shawn Coleman, a candidate for Boulder's City Council and a car salesman, asked if conventional cars might be retrofitted for hybrid performance in the near future, since purchasing a new hybrid would be quite expensive for lower-income people.

Salazar said he didn't believe retrofitting was on the horizon, but said most new vehicles will be built with a computer chip allowing the cars to use a variety of alternative fuels.

He ended his presentation with a pitch for Colorado to pass Referendums C and D, in part to help fund part of a U.S. educational system falling far behind India and China in producing engineers.

"We've fallen behind in the last five years and we used to be at the top of the heap," said Salazar.

Contact Richard Valenty about this article at (303) 443-6272 ext. 126 or <mailto:valenty@...valenty@...

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