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Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008 | Dear Editors,

It’s great to see Mayoral candidates arguing over who is better for the environment. I look forward to it. However, neither can claim to “get it” when each supports the old-paradigm project: the ill-named Sunrise Powerlink.

This project is the single worst proposal for the environment in the last 20 years, probably for the next 20. The implications are multifold. The line would allow the importation of dirty fossil fuel-based power that would undermine local markets for solar power. It would increase our region’s dependence on imported fossil fuels and require continued and increased export of ratepayers’ wealth. It would continue or increase our greenhouse gas emissions. Contrary to the green sales job, there is no requirement that the line import clean power.

Empty rooftops happen to be the number one under-utilized resource in the region when combined with local sunshine, and solar panels are the number one path to energy independence and reduction of our region’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Finally, running power lines through remote, fire-prone areas is also an old paradigm notion. Such lines are a security risk that cannot be adequately protected.

The Smart Energy Plan exists that eliminates the need for any such “powerlink” and would give our region control of our power sources instead of exporting both control and money to outside forces.

Candidates who believe they can support the Powerlink and still be an environmentalist – or even a fiscal or security conservative – simply haven’t asked enough critical questions to understand the flaws in the proposal.

I urge all candidates who have endorsed the Powerlink without questioning the details to take another look. Read the Smart Energy Plan. Leadership on the environment requires new, clean technology plans, not old centralized control, dirty power plans sold as if they are green without the necessary guarantees.

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