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AUGUST 4, 2010                                                                   



(Atlanta, Georgia) - Georgia Representative Chuck Martin (Alpharetta) was elected Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee of The Council of State Governments’ Southern office, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), at the organization’s 64th Annual Meeting in Charleston, South Carolina, this week.  As part of its mission to foster and encourage cooperation among its 15 member states, the SLC brought together nearly 1,700 delegates, legislative staff, and guests from across the South.  The Energy and Environment Committee is one of six SLC standing committees. 


On Sunday, August 1, the Committee met for its program session, which featured a panel discussion on Water Management in Southern States, with presentations by Representative Jeffrey Arnold, Louisiana; Jess D. Weaver, Regional Executive at the U.S. Geological Survey; and Katie Kirkpatrick, Vice President of Environmental Affairs at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.  The session examined how state legislators can better address the growing water demands in the region and how effective water management can lead to greater prosperity.  In addition, Czarena L. Crofcheck, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky’s Department of Biosystem and Agricultural Engineering, spoke on the role sustainable biomass feedstocks will play in providing electric power, transportation fuels and chemical production. 


On Tuesday, August 3, the Committee met for its business session, which featured a presentation on The Future of Nuclear Energy in Southern States, by Senator Paul Campbell, South Carolina.  The presentation focused on the role nuclear energy will play in renewable portfolio standards, as well as the current costs, safety concerns and storage issues associated with nuclear power.  The session also included a look at the Southern States Energy Board’s 2010 Legislative Digest, presented by Committee Chair Representative Rocky Adkins, Kentucky, along with the SLC state-by-state updates on the most recently concluded legislative sessions.   Also, on Tuesday, the Committee took a pontoon boat tour of Lake Moultrie, including the Pinopolis Lock, the Tailrace Canal and the Santee Cooper Jefferies Hydroelectric Station. 


Other meeting highlights included sessions featuring opening plenary presenter Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, a native of South Carolina, who was introduced by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina.  The closing plenary speaker was Congressman James E. Clyburn, South Carolina.  The other topics featured at the Charleston meeting were Promoting the Creative Economy; Measures to Enhance the State Business Climate; Funding Transportation in Fiscally Tough Times; Alternative Fuel Technologies and Economic Development; How Should the United States Prepare for the Global Economic Challenges of the 21st Century?; South Carolina’s Economic Challenges; Economic Incentives and State Tax Systems; Ensuring Efficiencies in State and Local Government Sales Tax Collections; Comparative Data Reports (CDRs) Presentations; State Actions on Animal Welfare, Rural Messaging—Framing the Rural Story; e-Warrants; Federal Healthcare Reform and Its Implications for Southern States; The Resurgence of Crystal Methamphetamine in the South; and Reforming Student Assessments, Alignment and Persistence: The Promise of a Coordinated Educational System.


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