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At Purdue energy summit, Sen. Lugar says alternatives must be pursued September 15, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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Original article: http://www.jconline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012309140050

11:08 PM, Sep 14, 2012

Written b MaryJane Slaby

To close the Lugar Collegiate Energy Summit, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., took the stage at Loeb Playhouse in the Stewart Center at Purdue University.

The fourth annual summit was Friday at Purdue. Organized by a new student group, the Purdue Energy Forum, the summit included students from around the state as well as from Illinois.

Lugar spoke about “Our Nation’s Energy Future,” saying the solutions for alternative energy are both personal and global.

“It’s crucial we think about energy,” he said.

The opportunities to reduce energy use are everywhere from homes to farms to businesses, Lugar said. And each time a person reduces energy use, he said, she can increase savings and help pioneer energy efficiency.

Lugar said he believes the American people know that striving for energy independence is very real. He said he knows that will take persistence.

“I hope alternative sources move beyond the lab,” he said.

Using corn ethanol instead of oil was something Lugar said he rejoiced about. But the difficulty is in distribution, and the business hasn’t spread from the Midwest, he said. One reason there are few fuel stations that feature ethanol is pressure from oil companies, he said.

Alexis Boxer, organizer for Purdue’s Sierra Student Coalition, said she was disappointed to hear a discussion of clean coal, since she believes coal is never clean. But she was happy to hear Lugar’s support for the wind industry.

He said it’s important to look into all potential sources of energy, from windmills to solar panels to ethanol.

Lugar said he knows that nuclear energy has a bad reputation, and major concerns are storage and cost, but he said he’d like nuclear energy to be considered more as a fuel source. Lugar said he thinks oil and natural gas will be relied on for a long time.

Such countries as China and India are growing, and more people are using fossil fuels and won’t want to limit usage, he said. To make changes to lessen climate change, Lugar said, it will require leadership from not just the U.S., but the world.

Climate change is abstract until something negative happens, he said.

Boxer said events like the summit are educational opportunities and that the topic of alternative energy can be complex to understand.

“We’re going to need more than a day,” she said.

Meher Taleyarkhan, a Purdue sophomore and member of the forum, said she thought the day was informative. She hopes to work in the energy industry after graduation.

The summit was the group’s way to establish credibility and start the school year, said the forum’s president, Anthony Wurl, a Purdue senior. He said Lugar’s credibility and the respect he receives was a big part of the summit.

“He’s a great advocate for energy independence,” Wurl said.

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