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Energy policy support is sought- It would encourage offshore projects and quick siting for others

A proposed state energy policy that encourages offshore energy projects and quick siting for windmills, nuclear plants and other low-emission energy moved forward yesterday.

A special legislative group, led by Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, is developing a state energy policy. Yesterday it agreed to seek the endorsement of the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission for legislation developed by Sen. Frank W. Wagner, R-Virginia Beach.

The state's need for energy is growing faster than it can be met, Watkins said.

Wagner said he believes the General Assembly, which often studies controversial issues, will deal with legislation in the upcoming session because the matter has been studied. "It's going to pass or fail on its merits," Wagner said.

"The vast majority of Virginians know there is a problem," he said. It is not an energy shortage, he said, but a policy problem, and it's up to government to fix it.

Wagner's proposal would require state support for lifting a federal moratorium on offshore natural-gas drilling and creating a fund to receive royalties and lease payments from gas production.

A feature of Wagner's plan that has not been warmly received by local governments would have the State Corporation Commission identify the best sites for wind farms and... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
A special legislative group, led by Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, is developing a state energy policy. Yesterday it agreed to seek the endorsement of the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission for legislation developed by Sen. Frank W. Wagner, R-Virginia Beach.

 
The state's need for energy is growing faster than it can be met, Watkins said.

 
Wagner said he believes the General Assembly, which often studies controversial issues, will deal with legislation in the upcoming session because the matter has been studied. "It's going to pass or fail on its merits," Wagner said.

 
"The vast majority of Virginians know there is a problem," he said. It is not an energy shortage, he said, but a policy problem, and it's up to government to fix it.

 
Wagner's proposal would require state support for lifting a federal moratorium on offshore natural-gas drilling and creating a fund to receive royalties and lease payments from gas production.

 
A feature of Wagner's plan that has not been warmly received by local governments would have the State Corporation Commission identify the best sites for wind farms and other low-emission energy facilities. If an energy company decided to locate in one of those sites, it would be exempt from local land-use plans.

 
Among other things, the Wagner proposal would:

 
# provide tax deductions for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances and other technology, including heating and cooling equipment;

 
# require energy efficiency for state-financed buildings and the use of biodiesel fuel in mass transit; and

 
# void provisions in neighborhood associations' bylaws that restrict installation of solar-energy equipment on a home.

 
At yesterday's meeting, the public commented on the proposed plan, and Brett Vassey, president of the Virginia Manufacturers Association, issued a warning. Roughly 100,000 Virginia workers in the paper, masonry, metal-fabrication and plastics in- dustries are at risk of losing their jobs unless something is done to increase supplies of natural gas and bring down prices, he said.

 
Vassey suggested that methane produced by landfills might be the best short-term source of new supplies, since offshore development and new liquid natural-gas projects will take up to a decade to pay off.

 
Joshua Low of the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club said his group strongly opposes offshore drilling and would favor a plan based on efficient energy use rather than burning more fossil fuels.

 
Albemarle County resident Mitch King, an advocate of wind energy, asked that windmills for electricity production be included in offshore development. Windmills could be within sight of shore, unlike drilling platforms, and could prove controversial.

 
Retired Richmond lawyer Urchie Ellis asked Wagner to add a section on electric power and called for repeal of the state's electric deregulation law.

Source: http://www.timesdispatch.co...

DEC 16 2005
https://www.windaction.org/posts/720-energy-policy-support-is-sought-it-would-encourage-offshore-projects-and-quick-siting-for-others
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