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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: February 13, 2008

Senator Andrew Rice
Sen. Andrew Rice discusses his environmentally-friendly legislation for state agencies and schools.

Rice Unveils State Energy Savings Plans

Motivated by potential energy cost savings and reduced hydrocarbon emissions, State Senator Andrew Rice (D-Oklahoma City) today urged the Oklahoma legislature to adopt his bipartisan bills to encourage public institutions in the state to adopt energy saving policies.

In a meeting with the media on Wednesday, Rice unveiled two bills: the first to convert large state-owned vehicle fleets to compressed natural gas (CNG) or any other alternative fuel, and a second bill requiring Oklahoma public schools to establish annual energy savings goals beginning next year.

“Individual consumers across Oklahoma and the nation are being forced by economic pressures to reduce their energy costs,” Rice said. “Many are also finding ways to cut down on harmful emissions that scientists have concluded are accelerating global warming. These bills offer modest ways that Oklahoma’s public institutions can do the same thing.”

Rice’s fleet conversion bill, S.B. 1771, is co-authored in the House by State Rep. Weldon Watson, R-Tulsa. It requires the 35 state agencies with at least ten vehicles in their fleet to either purchase vehicles that utilize CNG or convert existing vehicles to CNG in order to increase fuel efficiency by 50 percent by June 30, 2012. The Oklahoma City Democrat said he is amending his original bill to include other alternative fuels when compressed natural gas is unavailable.

“Natural gas is one of Oklahoma’s most plentiful natural resources,” Rice said. “If we can convert our state agency fleets to this clean-burning fuel while reducing hydrocarbon emissions at the same time, it’s a win-win for Oklahomans.”

Other vehicle fleets which have converted to CNG have reported fuel cost savings ranging from 25% to 50%, Rice said. He also cited findings that show CNG reduces hydrocarbon emissions by 50 percent and carbon monoxide emissions by 90 percent. Rice’s bill requires that all state-owned fueling stations provide CNG by no later than July 1, 2009, provided the cost of the fuel is not 10 percent higher than conventional fuel.

Rice also introduced S.B. 1504, to require the state’s public school districts to establish a goal of reducing the district’s annual electric consumption by five percent each year for six years beginning January 1, 2009. The bill was introduced in the House by State Rep. Tad Jones, R-Claremore.

Although the bill proposes no penalties for failure to comply, it does require the State Department of Education to compile individual school district reports and file an annual condensed report with the Governor, President Pro Tempore and the Speaker of the House.

“Whether it’s changing to lower watt light bulbs or converting to energy efficient appliances, if every school district in the state is able to achieve a modest energy consumption savings of five percent per year for the next six years, we will have significantly reduced our state’s electric consumption by 2015,” Rice said. “These measures can also help create more awareness among Oklahoma’s children and families about ways they can reduce energy consumption to save money and help the environment. Choosing energy efficient products is one of the smartest ways consumers can reduce energy use and help prevent greenhouse gas emissions.”

For more information contact:
Senator Rice's Office: (405) 521-5610

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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