Saturday, January 07, 2006

New York Governor Pataki Calls for Development of Plug-in Hybrids and More


New York Governor George Pataki provided a preview of his coming legislative initiatives for his final year in office in his final State of the State address last Wedensday. The speech was viewed by many analysts as a first step in a campaign for the Presidency.

The governor's speech included a number of talking points for the transportation and energy sectors. Pataki said he will propose a series of programs and initiatives, including:

  • Spurring the development of plug-in hybrids that use biofuels in the engine (e.g., flex-fuel plug-ins or 'trybrids');

  • Making the entire state a tax-free zone for companies that develop clean, renewable energy sources;

  • Making renewable fuels available at service stations all across the State, starting with the Thruway;

  • Making renewable fuels used in automobiles tax-free throughout the entire State;

  • Establishing ethanol plants;

  • Creating shovel-ready sites [I'm not exactly sure what that means] and helping to finance advanced clean coal power plants.

  • The following are excerpts from the energy and transportation section of the speech:
    "For more than a decade, we in New York have been aggressively pursuing the solutions to one of our generation’s greatest challenges -- reducing our dependence on expensive, polluting, terrorpromoting foreign oil.

    We don’t have to look far for evidence that the time to transition away from foreign oil is now – it is right there on the gas pumps and in our home heating bills.

    Not just here in New York, but across the nation, our reliance on foreign oil is hampering the financial freedom of our working families and their employers; it is hurting our economy, damaging our environment and enriching regimes that support, harbor and encourage the terrorists who threaten our national security.
    ...
    The entire world is now grappling with the question “where will we get the energy to power the global economy of the 21st century without causing irreparable damage to our natural environment?”

    Let’s make New York the place where that defining question is answered. Let's make New York the worldwide center for clean, renewable energy research, product development and job creation. Let’s attract companies from around the world that are developing the clean, renewable energy sources of the future – let’s make the entire state a tax free zone for this growing industry.
    ...
    We cannot address the issue of oil dependency without talking about transportation.
    ...
    Our transportation system is still over 90 percent dependent on petroleum products. The huge price increases we have seen at the pump are likely to get worse as developing countries like China and India consume an increasing amount of oil.
    ...
    This comprehensive strategy to reduce dependence on foreign oil [see bullet points above], will allow us to seize the future today and create the clean energy technologies that can be exported around the world tomorrow. The time to prepare for a future powered by clean energy sources is now -- not just here in New York, but across our entire nation.

    We’ve shown time and again that when New York leads, others follow. Let’s act this year to make New York State the energy independence capital of America, and set the stage for a cleaner environment and an even stronger, more prosperous New York for the next generation."

    Exhibiting leadership not seen at the national level, Governor Pataki also recently originated the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the first regional, mandatory cap-and-trade program to control carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. Participants include the Northeastern states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.

    Beginning in 2009, RGGI will stabilize carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in the region at current levels through 2015, and reduce emissions by 10% from current levels by 2019, according to Green Car Congress. RGGI also aims to achieve reductions through energy efficiency and through greenhouse gas emission reduction projects outside of the power sector.


    If we aren't seeing proactive leadership from the White House of Congress, its good to at least see regional leadership on a sustainable energy agenda, even if they tend to be limited to 'blue states' like California and New York.

    Still, all this from a Republican ... what's your excuse George?


    [A hat tip to Green Car Congress]

    3 comments:

    Heiko said...

    Both Bush and Clinton could have said all that.

    And for some strange reason I didn't see a word about raising gasoline taxes in his speech ...

    WattHead said...

    They could have said that but they didn't. And no, sadly there is nothing in there about raising gas taxes. Everyone seems afraid to touch that issue and I think it will take a shifting public consciousness to get one passed.

    Still, policies like this in a populous state and influential state will certainly help move that shift in public consciousness forward.

    WattHead said...

    Specifics of Pataki's plans were unvieled today. GCC has more here.