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Environment key issue in 46th Senate District

Ways to use green home and business practices to help boost the economy and conserve energy were at the forefront of discussion between candidates for the 46th Senate District.

With only a few weeks left before Election Day, incumbent Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Delmar, and challenger Charlie Voelker discussed their feelings about a recent environmental legislation known as Net Metering Reform, one of the only 2008 priority measures to become law, according to EPL/Environmental advocates.

"Net metering is the practice that credits consumers for the clean energy they generate themselves," according to information provided by EPL. "[It] will update state policy to save consumers money, reduce stress on aging transmission lines, and protect New Yorkers from the pollution generated by traditional power plants."

The reform credits consumers for generating solar and other alternative forms of energy.

Voelker said the reform is a good way to boost the economy.

"It's a stimulus package," he said. "It's a great thing; we need to do it. We need to support any ways that we could possibly get people to make sacrifices to generate their own power and decrease their carbon footprint."

He said the best way to cut the deficit is to generate revenue, and alternative energy is a way to do that.

Breslin said he also supports net metering, citing it as a win-win.

"It gets homeowners to think about solar panels," he said.

He said he suspects more manufacturers will produce solar panels if the government passes legislation that supports their use.

Breslin recently was scored on his environmental record by EPL and received one of the highest scores in the Senate, according to the EPL Web site.

The EPL advocacy group, established in 1969, scores state legislators on how they vote on sound environmental regulation.

"Every year, New Yorkers count on EPL/Environmental Advocates' Voters' Guide to show how their representatives in the state Capitol voted when faced with the choice to protect or pollute our irreplaceable natural resources," said Robert Moore, executive director of EPL/Environmental Advocates.

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