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United States

Turning the White House green

Environmental groups want the White House -- and the rest of the federal government -- to go green by buying only clean renewable electricity. The five key environmental groups sent a letter to the Clinton administration, which has been relatively sensitive to environmental concerns, asking it to order all US federal agencies to set an example and use only green power. The Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), Union of Concerned Scientists, Sierra Club, Centre for Resource Solutions -- which runs the green-e electricity certification program -- and Environmental Defence Fund on October 7 said that the federal government buying green power would be an important first step in reducing US greenhouse gases. It would also bolster the link between electric utility restructuring and efforts to clean the air or reduce global warming. New energy markets would be strengthened, and US leadership in the growing high tech renewables industry would be supported. The groups pointed out that more than half of America's electricity comes from coal, oil and other fossil fuels which in turn account for 70% of sulphur dioxide, 34% of carbon dioxide, 33% of nitrogen oxides, 28% of particulate, and 23% of toxic heavy metal pollution. The NRDC estimates that as many as 64,000 premature deaths each year result from particulate air pollution.

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