A women’s lobby group wants California to focus on the use of renewable energy in the state’s energy policies.SACRAMENTO, California, US, 2001-06-04 [SolarAccess.com] A women’s lobby group wants California to focus on the use of renewable energy in the state’s energy policies. The League of Women Voters of California says politicians are keeping their plans to address the state’s energy problems a secret, and that full disclosure of the decisions being made on the public’s behalf using the public’s money, is essential. Delegates at the recent League convention said the state’s financial resources are being depleted every day by the energy crisis, and that the resources will be unavailable for other urgent public needs. “We urge government officials to focus on how best to achieve a stable energy supply in the short and long term, with greater conservation, efficiency and use of renewable energy sources as the focus of the state’s energy policies,” says League president Gail Dryden. “If more information about the governor’s negotiations on long–term power contracts is not made available to Californians, the state government risks losing public support for what may be necessary, but difficult measures.” “It is imperative that the public be included in the process,” and she says state officials must display true leadership by opening negotiations to public scrutiny. This process may pose the risk of possible public criticism and possible opposition, but these risks are not as perilous as depriving Californians of the right to determine their future health and well-being. A survey conducted for the California First Amendment Coalition shows that 71 percent of adults say they are not getting enough information about how state officials are responding to the energy crisis, and 86 percent want the administration to make energy negotiations public. “Decisions with major health impacts on Californians are also being made without public participation in the process,” adds Dryden. Governor Davis has given discounts on air pollution credits at new peak power plants, and old power plants operating after their pollution credits are exhausted will have their penalties paid with taxpayer dollars. “These decisions, along with the prospect of increased diesel power generation this summer, are likely to worsen the state’s air quality,” she adds. At the League’s 1978 convention, it adopted a policy “to support a state energy policy that promotes conservation, fosters the development and use of a variety of renewable energy sources, and considers the impacts of energy development and use on public health and safety and on the environment.” That policy was reaffirmed at the last meeting. There must be “a mix of energy sources with emphasis on conservation (energy efficiency), solar energy, geothermal power, and other renewable sources such as bioconversion and resource recovery; and decreasing reliance on oil and gas,” it reads. “State energy policies and regulatory actions (must) provide for state research and development, tax incentives and loan guarantees to individual consumers to encourage conservation and use of renewable energy sources; state research and development, tax incentives and loan guarantees to encourage conservation by business and industry and to encourage development and use of renewable materials by business and industry.