Dean campaigns for renewable energy in New Hampshire

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(Host) VPR continues its presidential coverage from New Hampshire, where North Carolina Senator John Edwards and former Vermont governor Howard Dean were looking for votes. VPR’s Bob Kinzel examines the connection between Dean’s energy proposals and his Middle East policies:

(Kinzel) Dean traveled to Merrimack, New Hampshire on Friday to tour the production facilities of GT Equipment Technologies – a company that specializes in making production equipment for the solar energy market. The firm was started in 1994 with two employees; now it has roughly 60 workers and it does 75% of its business with companies in Europe.

Dean met with the company’s founders and then took a tour of the production line. The work space is located in a huge industrial warehouse that has forty foot high ceilings. (Sound of Dean chatting with production line worker.)

Following the tour Dean told reporters that it’s absolutely critical for the country to expand its commitment to renewable energy sources:

(Dean) “In the long run the most critical environmental issue we face is renewable energy. Without it we risk drastically changing the climate of the earth and changing the lifestyle of every American and every person in the world. And so this technology is really bringing us our future and in many ways saving the ways of life that we care about.”

(Kinzel) And Dean says the federal government should play a much stronger role in encouraging the development of renewable energy systems:

(Dean) “As president of the United States I think we should be investing in these technologies and pushing them very hard. You can see that the private sector has a foothold but the private sector is not going to succeed unless we make a huge effort to promote this technology. And it’s not just a matter of marketing it abroad but also promoting it vigorously to be used at home and industry and make some financial incentives available to do this.”

(Kinzel) Dean says the development of a strong renewable energy program will allow the United States to adopt a comprehensive policy towards the Middle East that is not dependent on foreign oil:

(Dean) “Our fossil fuel money goes to the Saudis among others who then use it to fund terrorism. This technology that we’ve just seen the machines to make is how we bring peace to the Middle East. Because one of the reasons we don’t have peace in the Middle East right now is that terror is being funded by the Iranian government, the Saudi government and the Syrian government. And our oil money provides, or the European oil money provides, the money to fund that terror. Ultimately renewables need to replace an enormous amount of oil that’s being burned right now from foreign countries. And that will allow us to stand up against terrorism in a way that this president has not been able to do.”

(Kinzel) Beginning Saturday afternoon Dean will embark on what his campaign calls the “Sleepless Summer Tour.” The cross-country trip will take Dean to eight states in four days to help build grassroots support for his campaign.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel.

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