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August 18, 1999
Congressman Expects Greater Energy Co-operation With India
A P Kamath in Washington
Congressman Frank Pallone Jr has welcomed the idea that increased use of renewable energy resources is to be the key focus of Energy Secretary Bill Richardson's visit to India.
Pallone, a senior member of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power in the House of Representatives, introduced a legislation last month to stress the use of renewable energy resources as a key component to restructure the American domestic energy market.
"I think it is particularly opportune that after the parliamentary elections, which are likely to set a new course for India not only in terms of its diplomacy in politics but also in terms of its economic policy, there will be a trip by Richardson to India this fall," Pallone said.
Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey, is one of the founders of the Congressional Caucus on India and the Indian Americans. He praised Richardson's willingness to work with the India Caucus, both in his capacity as energy secretary and in his previous post as American ambassador to the United Nations.
In his speech in the House, Pallone said his understanding was that Richardson will discuss ways of reducing emissions from thermal power plants through better technology. He is also expected to explore co-operation between the two countries in solar energy and related technologies.
He said the recent spate of blackouts in his home state, and in other north-eastern states because of extreme heat had demonstrated the need for the development of alternative, environmentally safe energy resources.
"We know how important it is to try and use renewable resources and to find ways, not only in developing countries like India, but also in the United States... in developed countries, to try to conserve and find new ways of dealing with scarce energy resources," Pallone said.
He also noted that Richardson plans to travel to Beijing to discuss with the Chinese leaders similar efforts to reduce pollution from thermal power generating units.
Welcoming the announcement that Richardson's senior advisor for national security Joan Rohlfing would work at the American embassy in New Delhi to deal with non-proliferation issues, Pallone said:
"We certainly recognize the fact that India is a nuclear power, but obviously we need to have better co-operation between the United States and India with regard to the nuclear issue in terms of security as well."
Pallone also paid tribute to Clinton cabinet officials who traveled to India to promote stronger ties between New Delhi and Washington. He singled out late commerce secretary Ron Brown and his successor William Daley. He also praised Health and Human Resources Secretary Donna Shalala.
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