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A clean energy coalition urged Nebraska on Wednesday to focus more on development of wind and solar power sources along with energy efficiency to help build a more environmentally friendly and healthier future.

The coalition's Husker Power Plan would "ramp up Nebraska's investment in energy-efficiency measures like weatherizing homes and businesses, replacing outdated lighting systems and motors and reducing wasteful use of energy," said Duane Hovorka, former executive director of the Nebraska Wildlife Federation.

"We are blessed with abundant 'energy from heaven,' wind and solar energy, to replace the fossil fuels that feed the accelerated climate change of our time," said Ken Winston of Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light.

John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union, said now is the time to act in order to access the full benefits of federal production tax credits for wind energy projects before those credits are reduced by 20 percent a year.

"Renewable energy is good for rural Nebraska and good for our state," Hansen said in a statement that accompanied remarks by fellow Farmers Union representative Graham Christensen.

Nebraska's public utilities paid $356 million for the cost of mining and delivering coal to power plants in 2014, the clean energy coalition stated.

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"From my perspective as a nurse, the impact on public health consequences from fossil fuel emissions related to pre-term births, childhood asthma and respiratory diseases, as well as mercury contamination of water, is of primary concern," Janece Molhoff said in speaking for the League of Women Voters of Nebraska. 

The plan is "affordable, doable and continuing the progress that our public power utilities are currently making," Hovorka said. 

The coalition promoted its proposal during an announcement in the Capitol Rotunda.

The plan can be accessed at nebraskawildlife.org.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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Political reporter

Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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