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A “Brighter Future” Energy Day at the Idaho Legislature

February 16, 2009

Boise, ID – Presidents Day is all about energy in Idaho today. This is a regular work day for the Idaho Legislature, so citizens and renewable energy groups are meeting with their elected representatives to talk about the state's role in the green-energy economy and how Idaho can get its share of renewable-energy money in the newly passed federal economic recovery package.

The new federal economic recovery package is expected to change much of the debate, which so far has focused on the budget shortfall. Money will come to Idaho for education, health care and renewable energy development. The latter ties in to today's "Brighter Future" Energy Day at the Capitol Annex.

Liz Woodruff, Snake River Alliance energy policy analyst, says in order for Idaho to get its share of renewable energy grants in the federal plan, blueprints have to be in place.

"We're really eager to work with the legislature, to work with agencies, to get Idaho prepared for the federal energy stimulus."

Woodruff says citizen volunteers also want to discuss with lawmakers an energy assistance bill for low-income ratepayers. It would allow utility companies flexibility to design programs for people who have trouble paying their bills - something the utilities are requesting.

Woodruff says energy policy is related to jobs and rural economic development. The federal money isn't just about creating renewable energy, she adds. It will focus on enhancing energy efficiency, too.

"We're looking at weatherizing homes, retrofitting businesses and public buildings – all of which create new jobs and decrease energy costs."

"Brighter Future" Energy Day is from 9 a.m. to noon at the State Capitol Annex, 514 W. Jefferson St., Boise.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - ID