Administration plans for greenhouse gas reduction

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(Host) The Douglas administration has unveiled a plan to reduce greenhouse gases caused by state government by 25 percent over the next eight years.

The proposal contains three major sections. The first calls for stronger energy conservation programs for state buildings by retro-fitting older buildings with new energy efficient systems and by adopting tougher standards for all new buildings. The second section calls for an overhaul of transportation policies and for state employees to take greater advantage of hybrid, electric and fuel-efficient vehicles. The third part of the plan encourages the use of Vermont products in all aspects of the state’s procurement policy.

Buildings Commissioner Tom Torti says achieving the 25 percent reduction by 2012 won’t be easy, but Torti says it’s essential for the state to take a lead role:

(Torti) “Unless we get state government’s act together, unless we are a model for the rest of Vermont, we can’t go out there and preach greenhouse gas. We have to walk the walk and that’s what we’re doing. We hope to become a model for other cities and communities in the state. We hope to become a model for the private sector – that’s one of the goals here.”

(Host) The Vermont Public Interest Research Group says it’s disappointed with the administration’s plan because the proposal has such a narrow focus. A VPIRG spokesman says state buildings account for only one percent of all greenhouse gases in Vermont. VPIRG says the administration should place a greater emphasis on the elements of the state’s 20-year energy plan that could drastically reduce greenhouse gases in the future.

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