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Column: Examine Candidates 'green' Ideas Before Hitting Polls

This story was written by Molly Hamm, Kansas State Collegian

Election Day is finally here. If you are like many Americans, you are probably either headed to the polls or have already cast your ballot.

Today provides the perfect opportunity to consider the environment on a national scale. If you have yet to make a decision about which side to support, consider taking a strong look at each major party candidate's stance on energy and the environment.

Democratic Candidate BarackObama's "New Energy for America" plan, according tohis official Web site, aims to create 5 million green-collar jobs, establish a national goal on energy efficiency and focus on American energy. Over the next 10 years, $150 billion would be invested in clean energy, saving more oil than currently is imported from the Middle East and Venezuela combined.

A cap-and-trade greenhouse gas emissions program would reduce emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050, making the United States a leader in climate-change efforts.

The plan sets a goal of having renewable resources provide 10 percent of U.S. electricity needs by 2012, increasing to 25 percent by 2025. The Obama-Biden plan also advocates for having 1 million plug-in hybrid cars on the road by the year 2015.

Republican candidateJohn McCains official Web site states thathe hopes to expand the domestic production and exploration of oil and natural gas in the United States by tapping into the trillions of dollars worth of reserves located in the country.

His energy plan also outlines reformation of the transportation sector to decrease dependence on foreign oil, including the issuance of a "Clean Car Challenge" to American automakers to encourage the production of zero-carbon-emission automobiles.

Alternative energies of choice include clean-coal technologies and nuclear power plants.

The McCain-Palin ticket also supports a cap-and-trade system for emissions and has outlined a timeline for reductions. For instance, by 2012, the U.S. would reduce its emissions to 2005 levels and by 2050 our emissions would be 66 percent below 2005 levels.

As you can see, each candidate has put considerable thought into both energy and environmental policy. I urge you to visit their Web sites to do more thorough research on the similarities and differences you can find in their policy proposals.

We must be sure that thethe next president, regardless of party,does enough for both energy and the environment.

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