News Roundup -- Inslee touts clean energy/Youths nabbed painting tower/Discuss the ferries’ future

Inslee touts clean energy

U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee introduced a comprehensive clean energy bill in Congress Wednesday, legislation aimed at reducing dependence on foreign oil while boosting jobs and environmental health at home.

“America can no longer rely on an energy source that threatens our national security, melts our glaciers and mires our hi-tech economy in an oily morass,” the Bainbridge Democrat said of the proposed “New Apollo Energy” project. “Today we give Americans a clear choice between the oil-soaked energy policy of the Republicans and a New Apollo Energy Act for clean energy.”

The bill’s development included several years of meetings with business leaders and town hall forums.

New Apollo is aimed at boosting technological innovation much in the same way President Kennedy channeled resources in his Apollo project to win the race to the moon, Inslee said.

Key features of the bill include:

• Almost $50 billion in government loan guarantees for the construction of power plants using wind, solar, geothermal or cleaner-burning coal energy.

• Over $10 billion for clean energy research and investment tax credits.

• Cutting oil use by 600,000 barrels a day in the next five years and up to 3 million barrels by 2020.

• Consumer incentives for fuel-efficient vehicles, including tax credits for hybrid, alternative-fuel, low-emission diesel and fuel-cell vehicles.

• A cap on greenhouse gas emissions, specifically targeting coal burners with $7 billion worth of loans to develop cleaner power plants.

• New standards for utilities requiring them to produce 10 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2021.

• Barriers to some corporate tax shelters and loopholes that allow companies to circumvent pollution rules.

Inslee also believes the bill will increase high-paying jobs in clean energy fields. A study by the Apollo Alliance found that a substantial federal commitment to clean energy could yield over 3 million jobs nationally. Inslee said many of those new jobs would likely sprout in tech-savvy Washington state.

“An investment in clean energy will create millions of domestic jobs – jobs that we are now losing to Japan, Germany and Denmark because this president has stuck his head in the sand on renewable energy policy,” he said. “Washington state, with its hi-tech infrastructure and historic creativity, is poised to benefit from a clean energy investment.”

Youths nabbed painting tower

A number of Bainbridge teens were caught painting a city water reservoir at the north end of the high school grounds early Friday morning.

Witnesses reported that several youths were atop the reservoir tower at about 12:45 a.m., with one dangling from a rope and “actively painting” graffiti on the side of the tank.

Police officers contacted several youths in the vicinity of the tower, which is fenced and padlocked. Inside the compound, a high school girl was caught with a rope and a bucket of paint, while a boy was arrested as he climbed down the ladder on the reservoir side.

Officers heard screams coming from above them, and learned that three more youths were atop the tower. Fire crews were called to help get them down.

Once on the ground, an unspecified number of youths were arrested for burglary and reckless endangerment, and their climbing equipment was confiscated.

Parents were called to retrieve those not yet 18, while the rest were allowed to leave.

The reservoir tower faces the football stadium grandstands, and painting its face with high school class years is something of an annual ritual.

– Douglas Crist

Discuss the ferries’ future

Hot food, electronic ticketing, a new terminal and an anti-gas tax intiative that could gut ferry funding.

It’s a time of big changes for Bainbridge ferry riders, and a meeting Tuesday will be your chance to vent your vexations or query your concerns.

Hosted by the Washington State Ferries and the Bainbridge Island Ferry Advisory Committee, the meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. at the Bainbridge Commons on Brien Drive.

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