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Youth and The “Green Vote”

I have a piece coming up today on how the environment could factor into the youth vote tomorrow.

In my reporting for the story, I came across a group called the Energy Action Coalition, which has run a nonpartisan campaign called “Power Vote” this election season. The campaign’s purpose is to galvanize young people to persuade other young people to vote for candidates or ballot referendums that promote clean energy, the creation of more green jobs and efforts to control climate change.

So far, Power Vote says it has secured commitments from 300,000 young people to vote this way.

Missouri, California and Colorado all have ballot initiatives dealing with clean energy. Missouri’s initiative calls for 15 percent of the state’s electricity to come from clean energy by 2021. California’s ballot measure, Proposition 7, requires the state’s utilities to get 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2010. (The proposition has stirred up controversy because many environmentalists oppose it because they consider its wording confusing and worry that it could backfire and retard renewable-energy growth.) And Colorado’s initiative, supported by Gov. Bill Ritter, seeks to end $300 million in tax subsidies for oil and gas companies and use that money for clean-energy projects and college scholarships.

More detailed accounts of these initiatives can be found here.

As I’ll discuss in today’s piece, voters age 18 to 30 view the environment as a higher priority than older voters. If young people turn out in big numbers tomorrow, they could help move energy and environmental issues to center stage.

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