Gibbons promotes use of alternative energy

WASHINGTON — Gov. Jim Gibbons met Wednesday with Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to discuss alternative energy, which he described as critical to Nevada’s future.

Among other things, Gibbons and Kempthorne discussed how to expedite drilling for geothermal energy and improve transmission corridors to speed geothermal, solar and wind energy to Nevada’s power grid.

"That’s the future of Nevada," Gibbons said. "I think it’ll take up to 10 years to get Nevada really firmly seated in renewable energy, and to me, that’s critical for the state’s economic future."

The 63-year-old Republican governor, who is spending the week in Washington, said the development of renewable energy in Nevada will be a cornerstone of his administration for the remainder of his first term and after 2010 when he intends to seek re-election.

Unaccompanied by aides and dressed casually in a blue blazer, sports shirt, slacks and tennis shoes, Gibbons met for almost an hour with Kempthorne, Bureau of Land Management Director Jim Caswell and Interior Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Stephen Allred.

Gibbons emerged from the meeting saying he is optimistic the Interior Department will establish a seed warehouse in eastern Nevada to rehabilitate burned public lands. This would make the land more useful for grazing and help diminish the invasive weed species that helps spread catastrophic wildfires.

Today, Gibbons plans to meet with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to see if identity programs at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Nevada and the state’s data systems are moving in the same direction as the federal government.

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