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Larry Rice comes to the Capital to lobby for alternative renewable energy sources.

March 05, 2001

By: Maggie Rotermund

State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY- Windmills and hog pellets are the energy source of the future, according to former gubernatorial candidate Larry Rice.

Rice was at the Capitol Monday touting renewable energy resources.

"We need to start counting kilowatts like we count calories," he said.

Rice supports using the windfall from the 4.225 percent state sales tax to offer incentives to homeowners and small businesses that use energy other than natural gas and electricity. He said Oklahoma and Texas are examples of states that use alternative energy sources.

Bruce Johnson, of Spencer, Okla. was in Jefferson City Monday to promote alternative energy sources. Johnson lives completely off of the local electric grid. Johnson and his wife, Barbara, use solar panels, wind and energy efficient appliances to run their five-acre farm.

"In 1984, when we began using renewable resources, Oklahoma offered incentives, but our income was too low for it too make a difference," Johnson said.

Rice objects to a Senate proposal, which he said encourages electric companies to continue using natural gas instead of alternative means.

Windmill farms, along with the growth of poplar trees and corn, will lower heating bills and help farmers, Rice said.

The movement from natural gas to renewable resources has many steps. Rice said people will become more energy efficient as they are educated about the cost effective alternatives to natural gas.

Using energy efficient light bulbs is one way to cut down on wattage. But at $11 a piece, they are prohibitively priced for the low-income families that Rice aims to help.

"I give them out now at seminars. I gave out 50 the other day and I plan to give out 50 this afternoon," Rice said. "Washington spent $50 million to cover high heating costs this winter. I want to help people that feel enslaved by the utility companies."