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Big Bucks and Bigfoot Flow Through Washington

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bay City Times, Jeff Kart

Published January 22, 2009

With The New Guy in office, billions, as in dollars, seems to be the buzzword.

When it comes to the environment, that money could come in handy.

A House economic stimulus bill includes tens of billions in tax breaks for renewable energy, the Reuters news service reports.

The package would extend a production tax credit for wind, geothermal, hydro power and bioenergy, the story says, and provide tax credits for research and development that focuses on energy conservation and efficiency.

Then there's the multi-billion-dollar Wall Street bailout, which allows employers to take a $20 per month tax credit for every employee who bikes to work.

Minnesota Public Radio carried a piece on the Bicycle Commuter Act, which allows companies to decide if they want to pass the money on to their workers. See minnesota.publicradio.org.

Grist magazine also has a rundown of the green shades of Obama's team. Soon after he assumes the presidency, Obama is expected to allow states like California to toughen their auto emission laws, The Huffington Post notes.

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The throngs of people in Washington, D.C., for this week's inauguration were likely to see aliens, mermaids and Bigfoot.

A group called The Reality Coalition put ads on buses and other public transit, using the mythical creatures to debunk the promise of clean coal technology, according to the Clean Break blog at cleanbreak.ca.

Speaking of coal, a Sierra Club blogger has given out best and worst honors to governors.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm was termed a wild card:

"She regularly emphasizes that Michigan's manufacturing future is intricately linked to large investments in clean energy. Yet, Michigan under her watch is proposing to approve more coal-fired power plants than any other state in the nation."

•••

Here's something else to worry about.

An investigation by the Environmental Working Group has found that not all CFLs are created equal.

The popular twirly compact fluorescent lights touted for their power-sipping abilities vary on how long they last and how much mercury they contain. Just the Energy Star logo alone isn't a guarantee you're buying the right CFLs, the EWG says.

The top brands to look for are Earthmate, Litetronics, Sylvania, Feit, MaxLite and Philips, according to the group.

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