Report: State Could Improve Policy, Offset Oil CostsNRDC Report Says Transportation Planning Can Buffer Automotive Fuel CostsVermont could be doing more to protect its citizens from the high costsof fuel oil for our cars and trucks, according to a new report releasedby the Natural Resources Defense Council, a national environmentalgroup.States that adopt laws to promote clean and efficient vehicles, preventsprawl, and invest in public transit, are helping protect their citizensfrom high oil prices, according to the report, “Fighting Oil Addiction:Ranking States’ Oil Vulnerability and Solutions for Change.””Based on this report, the results for Vermont are mixed,” said BrianShupe, the sustainable communities director and energy co-director forthe Vermont Natural Resources Council. “Despite our green image andreputation for forward-thinking policy, this report shows that Vermontis not among the most innovative states when it comes to taking steps toreduce our reliance on oil for transportation.”The report highlights two critical areas related to our nation’saddiction to oil: vulnerability to high oil prices and implementation bystates of policy alternatives and solutions.Vermont ranks 16th among the 50 states with regard to the specificpolicy steps the state is taking to cut down on oil use, but ithighlights some gaps. The report also shows that the state is relativelyvulnerable to high oil prices based on Vermonters’ incomes. According tothe report, Vermont motorists spent an average of $1,856 on gasoline in2007. This amounts to 5.1 percent of the average income, making thestate the 31st most vulnerable to high oil prices. The report does notconsider oil use for heating.One area in which the NRDC report finds Vermont lagging relates togrowth management and planning.”Several states have an agency that coordinates development policieswith state spending decisions to promote smart growth and avoid sprawl,”Shupe explained, “but Vermont lacks such an entity. We did get pointsfor Act 200 (Vermont’s planning and growth management law), although thestate agency planning requirements of that law have been ignored forover a decade.”The report also noted that Vermont lacks a target for reducing vehiclemiles traveled by Vermonters. Between 2000 and 2005, the average numberof vehicle miles traveled increased by 11 percent.”This is largely because we’re developing communities that are notwalkable and are difficult to serve by transit,” Shupe said. “Greaterefforts to promote smart growth, avoid scattered, low densitydevelopment and invest in alternative transportation are critical toreducing our vulnerability to sticker shock at the gas pump.”According to the report, the five states implementing the mostcomprehensive policies to reduce oil use are California, followed by NewYork, Connecticut, Washington and Pennsylvania. In New England, RhodeIsland, Maine and Massachusetts also rank ahead of Vermont.For a copy of the full report go to www.nrdc.org/media/2008/080722.asp(link is external)
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(REUTERS) – Bayern Munich crushed Arsenal 5-1 in their Champions League round of 16 first leg yesterday, scoring three goals in a dazzling 10-minute spell in the second half to extend their record to 16 consecutive home wins in the competition.Thiago Alcantara struck twice and Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski and substitute Thomas Mueller were also on target as the Bavarians inflicted Arsenal’s first defeat of the season in Europe’s premier club competition.Alexis Sanchez had equalised for the visitors, scoring on the rebound after Manuel Neuer saved his 30th-minute penalty but the Gunners suffered when captain Laurent Koscielny limped off injured to leave the defence exposed.“We should score in London but it is a good starting position,” said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm, who will miss the return leg through suspension. “It should be enough for us to go through.“We played very good until the penalty and then the second half was sensational.”Robben said Bayern had proved their recovery from a recent dip in form.“If this was not an answer, then I don’t know. I am a bit surprised by the score but it is the Bayern mentality. When it matters we are always there,” Robben added.Bayern, who knocked out Arsenal at this stage of the competition in 2005, 2013 and 2014, got off to a perfect start when Robben curled an unstoppable trademark left-foot shot into the top corner of David Ospina’s goal.Arsenal levelled after being awarded a penalty for a handball by Lewandowski and Sanchez hooked home on the rebound after Neuer saved his spot-kick.The game looked to have lost its pace early in the second half before Bayern stepped on the gas to fire three goals past the English side who collapsed when Koscielny went off injured in the 49th minute.Lahm floated a perfect cross into the box and Lewandowski rose high above defender Shkodran Mustafi to drill in a header in the 53rd minute.The Poland striker set up Thiago with a perfect flick for Bayern’s third goal three minutes later and the Spaniard grabbed his second with a low drive before substitute Mueller completed the rout two minutes from time.The English team are on course for a seventh last-16 exit in a row as Bayern close on a sixth successive quarter-final appearance.The sides meet in the second leg in London on March 7.