Public gives input on State Energy Strategy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Public gives input on State Energy Strategy

September 25, 2006

Tifton--  Some top environmental officials are hard at work developing an energy plan for Georgia and they want your help.  This year, Governor Sonny Perdue launched a State Energy Strategy to make energy in Georgia reliable and affordable and who better to ask about Georgia's energy future than the millions of us who shell out thousands of dollars each year.

Last year, gas prices skyrocketed after Hurricane Katrina and those prices got so high and supplies so scarce, even school had to be canceled for two days. State leaders don't want that to happen again.  

Did you ever think that you would consider $2.01 for a gallon of gas as cheap? "That is kind of weird isn't it? Everything's relative you know?," says driver Jo Wilson. It is relative and compared to last year, things have changed. "They're a whole lot better than what they were," says driver Drew Baggett.

The numbers at the pump now stop rolling a little sooner. "I'm liking these prices. This is really good," says Wilson. And drivers want to make sure the good prices last.  Some even have suggestions for the state's top dogs.

"Have a couple of meetings and you know? Suggest certain things we can do to get these prices down and keep them down," says driver Quinton Neoson. That's the idea behind the Energy Policy Council commissioned and put together by Governor Perdue.

"To develop a long range strategy, a long range plan for how we're going to meet the energy needs of our state going into the future," says Senator Joseph Carter of Tifton.

In the first of several meetings, they asked the public to give their input on what should be included in their strategic plan. "We fully expect that we'll hear stories of how energy is necessary to run large industrial facilities as well as homeowners who say my gas bill is too high," says Carter.

The council will write it all down.  Senator Carter serves on the council. He says one big goal is to increase energy reliability and affordability in the state while decreasing dependency on foreign sources. The plan could include something very important to the area.

"That's alternative fuels, renewable energy if you will, ethanol, biodiesel," says Carter.

"I think we can reduce our dependency on foreign oil and especially exploring other options. I think it probably should have been done years ago," says driver Randy Reeves.

Right now, drivers are filling up with a smile. "I see a big difference. Every cent counts," says Neoson. But with future changes in store, people could be counting on more energy efficiency.

This State Energy Strategy could also attract more businesses to Georgia by encouraging the development of clean energy technologies. This would help the environment and the economy at the same time.  

There will be four more meetings throughout Georgia over the next few days including Savannah and lastly in Rome. The Governor's Energy Policy Council will then compile a report they'll deliver to the Governor by December 15th.

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