September 1, 2014

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Rural americans care about our energy future Print E-mail

By Virginia Wolking
virginiaw@cfra.org, Center for Rural Affairs

As Election Day rapidly approaches, elected officials and candidates for public office are criss-crossing rural America eagerly seeking votes. And that creates an opportunity for those of us that live in America’s small towns and rural areas to ask candidates about their views on renewable energy and other crucial rural issues.

Ask them what their vision is for renewable energy development. Ask if they will work to increase energy efficiency and accelerate renewable energy development, both of which will create new green jobs in rural areas.

Ask them what they will do to ensure energy decisions reflect the will of your community and ensure everyone’s voice is heard. A community-based approach to energy development is our best chance to develop domestic, home-grown, and localized resources.

Ask them to support tax credits that drive renewable energy development. Inquire whether they will fund local loan or grant programs to promote small-scale renewable energy use by farms, businesses, and homeowners.

Lastly, ask them to commit to increasing funding for renewable energy research. Land grant institutions, USDA research stations, and Department of Energy national laboratories play a critical role. State and federal funding for these programs is at risk.

It’s clear that renewable energy holds great economic potential for our rural communities. But we need bold leadership from our elected officials to help tell the story of the value of renewable energy and your voice is crucial in making that happen.