U.S. states go green

Auntie Ruth is green to the eco scene. Read each week as she weeds through the dirt and unearths new gems of environmental knowledge.

Auntie Ruth is a California girl at heart, and she’s delighted that the Golden State leads the way with important issues like gay marriage and renaming a San Francisco sewage treatment plant after our current dumbass in chief. She was relatively pleased last week with the California Air Resources Board’s draft recommendations for measures to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 30 percent by 2020, a goal set by the state’s landmark legislation, Assembly Bill 32. Measures include forest preservation, biomass generation and land-use and transportation plans that encourage Californians to drive less.

Delaware is trying to step in and take some of California’s green glory. The Blue Hen State will establish the nation’s first offshore wind farm, which will generate enough clean energy to power 50,000 homes a year. The $1.6 billion wind farm will include 150 wind turbines anchored to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean about 12 miles off of Delaware’s shore. Each turbine, with three 150-foot rotor blades, will sit 250 feet above the waterline. The wind farm should be generating power by 2012. And then there’s New Mexico, which has taken on the moniker “the Clean Energy State” and created at least 37 green-power incentive programs. With $10 million in funding from the state, Advent Solar is developing high-efficiency solar cells, which, for now, they export mostly to European markets. Those incentives have attracted the attention of Germany’s Schott Solar, the world’s eighth largest solar-cell producer, which recently announced it would invest $100 million in its new Albuquerque plant.

But it’s Oregon, our hippie-occupied neighbor to the north that has always made Ruth smile. Oregon residents have long been at the forefront of waste issues, recycling an impressive 50 percent of their waste. The state’s waste-management programs are so successful that Hawaii is working on a plan to ship its own trash across the Pacific Ocean and up the Columbia River to a landfill near Arlington, Ore. Ruth believes Hawaii should take drastic actions to reduce its waste production and expand recycling programs instead of handing off rubbish to another state. How will Hawaiians, or any of us for that matter, learn about protecting the environment if we ship off the consequences of our policies to somewhere else?