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Pickering says state could help in energy crisis

By By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
July 17, 2001
Being a rural state could be a blessing for Mississippi and a major factor in a plan to use more of the nation's natural resources for energy, U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering said Monday.
Pickering, the 3rd District Republican, said that President Bush's energy plan could play into Mississippi's hands. He said "our region is better prepared and better positioned to respond to the energy crisis."
Pickering appeared at East Mississippi Electric Power Association in Meridian to discuss the state's role in energy legislation that the U.S. House and Senate are beginning to consider.
President outlines strategy
Bush outlined his energy strategy in May, calling for a blend of new coal and oil production; increased reliance on nuclear power; increased energy conservation; and research into such power sources as wind and solar energy.
California, already in the midst of an electricity crisis, has experienced several brownouts and blackouts. Pickering said the president's plan to both conserve and use some of the natural resources is the key to weathering similar problems in future.
Bert Guy, general manager of EMEPA, said that he supported Pickering's stance on the energy issues and is especially proud to see his support of the use of clean-coal technology.
Pickering backs diversity
Pickering said that coal is the country's most abundant natural resource. But he said it is almost impossible to use coal as an energy source because of strict federal regulatory requirements.
Off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico would be environmentally safer than importing fuels from other countries, Pickering said.
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star., call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228 or E-mail him at fcarmichael@themeridianstar.com.