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Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


GENERATIONS INVIGORATING VOLUNTEERISM AND EDUCATION ACT -- (House of Representatives - March 18, 2009)

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Ms. PINGREE of Maine. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, H.R. 1388 is an important call to service for the entire country. It will offer opportunities to people of all ages, races, and backgrounds to get involved in their communities and make lasting changes in the places they live. I strongly support this bill and want to commend the authors for their hard work in crafting this essential piece of legislation.

Among the many important provisions of this bill, I was pleased to see the inclusion of the Clean Energy Corps. In my home State of Maine, we have some of the oldest housing stock in the Nation, and we are one of the most dependent on home heating oil. Clean energy innovation is essential to our economic growth and survival.

I believe our rural State can become a leader in clean energy and in creating good-paying, sustainable jobs. Clean energy development is an important issue for both urban and rural communities, but rural communities often have to address their clean energy needs in different ways than big cities do.

In addition, rural areas frequently have a wide array of natural resources at their disposal that enable them to effectively address their clean energy needs.

This amendment will give service-based projects in small towns the flexibility to design clean energy solutions that are specific to their rural needs.

I would like to share with you one short example of an innovative and groundbreaking project that was developed in my hometown, the island of North Haven.

I live in a rural community on an island 12 miles off the coast of Maine. Because we have to get our electricity from the mainland over an undersea cable, electric rates are extremely high. Most recently, we paid 27 to 29 cents per kilowatt hour. So the people of my tiny town, where we have 350 year-round residents, have gotten together with a neighboring island and have put together a plan to construct a wind turbine that will provide our electricity, and may even allow us to send some back to the mainland.

This is nearly a $10 million project. This project could not and would not happen without the volunteer efforts of dozens of people in our community who have donated thousands of hours to make this clean energy project a reality.

It is crucial to encourage volunteerism and ingenuity in rural areas which are traditionally underserved by these types of service projects. This amendment extends additional opportunities for volunteerism into rural areas so we can continue to help and encourage our citizens of all ages to contribute to our clean energy future.

I urge you to vote ``yes'' on this amendment.

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