Sarah and Gwen: the Two-Headed Monster

This blog is about everything involving Lexington, KY or anything else we feel like yapping about.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

From the Miller-Maze Campaign


Calls for Real Change in Alternative Energy Production; Mountaintop Removal Mining; Energy Efficiency and Biotechnology

FRANKFORT - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Miller and running mate Irv Maze today unveiled the campaign’s fourth major policy initiative in as many weeks with their plan to empower Kentucky as a world leader in energy security, environmental protection and health care, bringing good jobs and real progress to the Commonwealth as part of the bargain. "We can do so by use our state’s greatest assets - natural beauty, resources and brainpower -- to enable Kentucky to become a world power," Miller said.

Today, the candidates launched a discussion based on using our natural resources, innovation and technology to enable Kentucky to help the nation gain energy independence from the Middle East, while protecting the Commonwealth’s environment, boosting economic development, and finding ways to make healthcare more affordable and accessible. Their proposals include:

Establishing Kentucky as the clean energy capital of the world through the development of zero-emissions clean coal and bio-fuel technologies to harness energy from Kentucky agriculture and natural resources;

Reforming the practice of mountaintop removal mining to protect Kentucky’s rivers and streams and preserve natural habitats for hunting, fishing and hiking;

Launching a statewide program promoting energy efficiency and conservation through government initiatives and partnerships with the private sector and faith-based institutions; and

Using Kentucky biotechnology and e-health initiatives for health care solutions.

"Every community in Kentucky can be a player in this effort," Miller said. "From our sportsmen and women to coal miners to health care providers to entrepreneurs to farmers to technology companies - everyone can play a vital role and everyone has something to gain. That is why we are calling on people across the state to share their ideas with us as we travel Kentucky working on solutions for real change."

Miller and Maze will travel across Kentucky meeting with experts and people in our communities to develop more detailed plans. Citizens are encouraged to share their ideas via email by logging onto the campaign Web site at and clicking the "Real Change button.

Miller believes it is our moral responsibility to be good stewards of the environment. A former deputy chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Energy, Miller worked extensively on renewable energies to help America become more energy independent while protecting our natural environment.


2-12-07 REMARKS

State Treasurer Jonathan Miller

Democrat for Governor


Happy Chandler once said that "I never met a Kentuckian who wasn’t coming home." He was right. There is something truly special about Kentucky that leads every native citizen to at least harbor the desire of making Kentucky their permanent home.

Kentuckians are proud, of course, of our horses and our basketball. But what makes Kentucky stand out -- above all other states, indeed above all other nations -- is our natural beauty. We call this God’s country because we believe that there is no more beautiful place on earth; and we believe that Kentucky’s beauty is truly a reflection of God’s glory.

But despite our pride, too often our state lags behind when it comes to economic growth, progress and competitiveness. We are now not only losing out to our neighboring states; we are struggling to compete with India, China, and even Mexico.

Irv Maze and I believe that we need to bring real change to Kentucky. We would like Kentucky to become a world leader in the new, 21st century economy, and bring good jobs and real progress to the Commonwealth.

And we believe that we can do so by harnessing Kentucky’s greatest assets: its beauty, its bounty and its brainpower to enable Kentucky to become a world power on the three key issues of the new century: energy security, environmental protection, and health care.

We are talking today about generating new ideas to fix old problems and to rein in new opportunities, but we are also talking about our moral responsibility of stewardship to treat our earth well for generations to come.

Irv Maze and I will travel the state to promote real change and highlight innovative projects, and to discuss solutions for some of our most vexing problems.

Today we launch a discussion on Kentucky’s potential to become a world leader in the new economy: how we preserve our natural beauty and how we bring good jobs and real progress to the Commonwealth.

Kentucky’s bounty of natural resources of coal and agriculture enable us to help our nation develop energy independence from the Middle East and protect our environment.

Clean Energy and Mountaintop Removal

With strong leadership dedicated to real change, Kentucky can become the clean energy capital of the world. We can accomplish this by utilizing all of our abundant natural resources-our agriculture, timber, water, sun, and the wind-with technological solutions designed and developed by our scientists and technicians and made operational by our skilled workforce.

And, of course, Kentucky’s most abundant natural resource, coal, which currently provides 97 percent of our electricity needs, will be part of the energy solution in Kentucky for a long time.

What if we could build on the current science and develop truly clean methods for using coal that tap this abundant resource, protect and preserve the environment and communities, and meet our energy needs? We can start this process by building on existing and emerging science to develop clean coal technologies that produce zero-emissions energy. As Governor, I will make it a priority to seek out federal funding and provide state funding wherever necessary for groundbreaking research in this area.

This work has already begun. One example can be found at the University of Kentucky’s Center for Applied Energy Research, which is working on green energy using coal that currently never makes it to the marketplace. Coal dust that now poses environmental risks - because 500 million tons of Kentucky "fine coal" are in sludge ponds and may be going into the water supply -- could instead be used as an energy source. By packaging coal dust and saw dust in briquettes, these scientists are taking byproducts and creating fuel.

Clean coal technologies such as gasification and carbon sequestration could mean zero emissions and lower levels of pollutants. Just a few weeks ago, GE Energy Financial Services announced that it is investing in a Henderson County, Kentucky gasification plant that will convert coal into a fuel similar to natural gas.

With nearly every scientist in the country agreeing that climate change is a real and present concern, and with a growing faith-based movement acknowledging that remediation is a moral imperative, this is no time for half-solutions. The technology exists to burn coal in a way that protects our air and our environment. Kentucky needs to be leading this solution, not becoming part of the problem by funding half-hearted initiatives. A Miller-Maze Administration will provide the leadership necessary to authentically and aggressively explore these issues, use coal more cleanly, and pair it with other exciting energy sources.

Real leadership requires a Governor that will make this kind of work a top priority of the state. That’s the kind of leadership you will see in a Miller-Maze Administration.

But as we pursue new avenues for clean coal technology, we must be very cognizant of the negative byproducts of coal mining - to our miners, and to our environment. In the past few years, we have lost too many decent, hard-working Kentuckians to mine disasters. We must protect our coal miners from the hazards through the use of new and safer technologies. I will support strong legislation to give our coal miners the protections they need and deserve.

As your next Governor, I will also take the bold step of reforming the practice of mountain top removal mining so that we preserve Kentucky’s natural beauty and promote healthy citizens by protecting our streams and rivers. I am excited about the introduction of House Bill 385 by Representative Don Pasley calling for the reform of mountain top removal mining and for the protection of our rivers and streams. I am happy that he has so many co-sponsors. But I was saddened to see the headline in the Lexington Herald-Leader saying the legislation probably wouldn’t go anywhere.

We have to stop the old school ways of sitting idly by and watching problems get worse. We need to start having hearings and asking the tough questions. We have to start offering ideas and fresh approaches.

It is time that we take a close look at how the practice of mountaintop removal mining affects our Commonwealth’s rivers and streams and special natural habitats. We must be vigilant to protect the drinking water of our children and our families. And we must be vigilant to ensure that we preserve our beautiful lands for sportsmen and women, fishermen and women and hikers. Indeed, it is our moral obligation to serve as stewards of the environment, stewards of the Creation.

I look forward to traveling the state in the coming weeks, meeting with experts, environmentalists, miners, sportsmen and women, and Kentuckians of all kinds to discuss ways that we can take advantage of Kentucky’s most abundant natural resource to promote our state economy and our national security, while at the same time protecting our workers and our environment.

Agriculture, Agri-energy

But as I mentioned earlier, our clean energy strategy should not begin and end with coal. Kentucky’s farmers also have much to contribute. Think of it . . . what if we replaced the oil fields of the Middle East with the soybean and corn fields of Kentucky? What if our farmers could be the premier producers of what Governor Bredesen in Tennessee is promoting as "Grassoline" - cellulosic ethanol produced from something as simple as switchgrass? What if our foresters found stronger markets for byproducts like woodchips for cellulosic ethanol?

Again, we have seen great progress in this area already. Distilleries and refineries for ethanol and bio-diesel are operating and emerging across Kentucky now in communities like Hopkinsville, the home of Commonwealth AgriEnergy; Louisville, where Parallel Products produces 5 million gallons of ethanol each year; Owensboro, where they are constructing a major biodiesel plant that will produce 50 million gallons each year and will be the country’s largest soy biodiesel plant; Brandenburg where Agri Fuels will focus on ethanol production; Fulton County where Bluegrass Bioenergy will produce ethanol; Estill County in Eastern Kentucky with Green Earth Biofuels set to come on line; and in Northern Kentucky, Griffin Industries turns waste products from restaurants and turns it into biodiesel. And just last week, Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities Company filed with the Kentucky Public Service Commission for approval for their Green Energy program. They want to !
customers the option of using electricity produced from organic waste in our landfills.

The University of Kentucky is doing some remarkable work, too. UK researchers are finding ways to produce ethanol - not just from corn but from cardboard and lawn clippings as well as the fine coal and sawdust I mentioned earlier.

The technology is either in place or is emerging - right here in Kentucky. The opportunities are boundless.
By promoting the development of ethanol and other bio-fuels that produce clean energy our state’s agriculture will be transformed into a powerful economic force in the 21st Century.

We have the resources and the brainpower. All we are missing is real leadership. A Miller-Maze Administration will provide assistance and coordination to these efforts. Our office of Agricultural Policy will focus like a laser on helping farmers transition from the declining tobacco economy to assume world leadership in bio-fuel technology. And we will accompany that production with tax incentives to encourage the manufacture of hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles in Kentucky to encourage energy companies to build renewable and other clean energy producing facilities in our state.

Energy Efficiency, Conservation

We believe we can establish Kentucky as a world leader in promoting energy efficiency and conservation. Requiring our state buildings to be the most energy efficient in the nation is a start. And we need to pursue partnerships with the private sector and our faith-based communities to promote conservation and energy efficiency throughout all of our communities.

For example, we need to pursue "green buildings" that are energy efficient and help conserve energy. Only three such buildings in the Commonwealth -- a hospital in Bullitt County, a building owned by Toyota in Georgetown and a building at Berea College -- are certified through the LEED program (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program of the U.S. Green Building Council. As Governor, we will require state government to transition to a policy whereby all of our institutions are green buildings.

The movement for a more energy efficient economy also presents tremendous opportunity for the development of green businesses in Kentucky. Entrepreneurs have great opportunity to invest in emerging technologies for environmental cleanup. A Miller-Maze Administration will lead a major push to bring new green businesses to our state and enable current Kentucky companies to promote energy efficient production while helping our conservation efforts.

We must also inspire our new generation of young leaders to take an active role in conservation and energy efficiency programs. A Miller-Maze Administration will lead efforts to bring together state government with private industry and faith-based institutions to encourage and stimulate conservation efforts across the Commonwealth. Kentucky can and should be an example for the rest of the nation on how if we can pull together, we can not only uphold our moral obligations as the Earth’s stewards, we can also grow our economy more rapidly in the green-conscious 21st century.

Biotechnology and Health Care

Finally, Kentucky has the capacity to be a world leader in healthcare by using biotechnology and e-health initiatives to develop health care solutions for our citizens.

By promoting programs at our state’s major universities to use Kentucky’s bountiful agricultural base, we can develop biotechnology solutions and cures to cancer and other dreaded illness.

What if our farmers were actually helping to cure cancer and other dreaded diseases? Well they may already be doing that. An Owensboro company, Large Scale Biology Corporation, is working with plants - like tobacco - to make biotherapeutics and vaccines.

This should not be an isolated incidence. A Miller-Maze Administration will provide broad-based incentives to encourage companies to promote the transition of the tobacco crop from health-impairing smoking, to health-enhancing pharmaceutical and vaccine production.

And by employing e-health technology, we can reduce medical mistakes and medical costs by using the Internet to allow doctors across the state to share expertise, ideas and solutions.

If all of our bank transactions can be conducted with this little ATM card, surely we can share medical records the same way and from hospital to hospital instead of unnecessary duplication of costly tests and procedures.

Sharing Ideas

We don’t know all the answers, but we have ideas and fresh approaches. We want to hear from people to develop more detailed plans.

Our campaign is different - and our administration will be different - in that we are smart enough to know that we don’t know it all.

We know there are plenty of smart Kentuckians out there who will join with us to answer those questions.

We think the opportunity is here and that all of Kentucky will benefit.

We will ask people - experts and non-experts - entrepreneurs, miners, environmentalists, scientists, economists, teachers -- anybody and everybody with ideas and the desire for real change - to share their ideas.

You can log onto our Web site - - and click on the Real Change for Kentucky button to share your ideas with us - to help us find solutions - to help us lead the way for real change.

We are excited for Kentucky and all of these possibilities. Just as we’ve done since we entered this campaign, Irv Maze and I will continue to identify our problems and challenges. We will continue to ask the tough questions, and we’ll continue to listen to Kentuckians about how they think we should answer them.


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