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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Avista reduces natural gas rates

Avista Utilities natural gas customers will see a 3 percent decline in their rates resulting from the recent drop in wholesale gas prices, state regulators announced Thursday. The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission approved the utility’s request to reduce natural-gas rates beginning today in response to wholesale gas costs falling since last summer.

Program would pay to replace gas hogs

WASHINGTON – Congress is mulling a proposal to pay people to get rid of those old gas guzzlers sitting in their driveways. Under legislation introduced Wednesday in both the House and Senate and called the “Cash for Clunkers” program, drivers could get vouchers of up to $4,500 when they turn in their old fuel-inefficient vehicles for scrap and buy vehicles that get good gas mileage.

Chu hearing forecasts new focus in energy policy

WASHINGTON – The Nobel Prize winner nominated to head the Energy Department said Tuesday that he would focus the agency in part on global warming, a sharp departure from the agency’s priorities during the Bush administration. “If we continue on our current path, we run the risk of dramatic, disruptive changes to our climate,” physicist Steven Chu told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during his confirmation hearing.

Easy Ways to be An Energy Star Around The House

Did you know that the average American household spends about $2,000 on energy bills every year? Now, energy efficient choices around the home can save families approximately one third on their energy bill and provide similar savings in greenhouse gas emissions, without sacrificing features, style or comfort.

Spray-on Power

Cheap and inexhaustible electricity production remains one of the Holy Grails of the green movement, with solar running neck and neck with wind in its ability to inspire innovation. Here's an example: Conventional solar cells are made of silicon, a brittle substance that requires a solid backing. But recently, Xiaomei Jiang from the University of South Florida has announced the development of the tiniest solar cells ever produced -- cells made from an organic polymer that is able to be dissolved and painted onto any surface that is exposed to the sun.

Continental Airlines flight powered with biofuel takes off

HOUSTON – Continental Airlines on Wednesday became the first U.S. commercial carrier to conduct a demonstration flight powered in part by alternative fuels, though large-scale use of such fuel is forecast to be several years away. The Houston-based company, the nation’s fourth-largest airline, made the flight with a Boeing 737-800 that left from Bush Intercontinental Airport, its large hub. The flight took about 1 hour, 45 minutes and had no passengers.

Paper mill upgrade cuts costs, emissions

New equipment for converting wood chips into pulp will reduce natural gas consumption at the Inland Empire Paper Co. by as much as 75 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by 33,000 tons annually, President Wayne Andresen said Monday. The $40 million investment will also allow the mill to slightly increase output, to about 570 tons per day, Andresen said.

Simple steps for cutting your carbon footprint

Despite our best intentions to live by the mantra, "Take only photos, leave only footprints," our carbon footprint is not an easy one for the earth to erase. So, what is a carbon footprint exactly? It's the measure of human-produced greenhouse gases from activities such as driving a car or using electricity, and it's measured in units of carbon dioxide gas. The concern is that excess carbon dioxide will kick up the earth's temperature to a broil, and eventually it'll be too hot for humans -- and most other species -- to handle.