Republican congressional candidate Sydney Hay pumped gas Friday afternoon at the Giant Station in Payson, hoping to tank up on some free publicity for an energy plan she hopes will help her win out in a crowded primary field.
The conservative long-time Republican activist and former mining company legislative lobbiest enjoys a big lead in fund-raising and endorsements on the Republican side and has made repeated trips through Payson, unlike most of the other Republican challenges.
The First District Congressional seat being vacated by the indicted incumbent Republican Rick Renzi has drawn national attention, since Democrats have a narrow registration edge in a district that often votes Republican at the congressional level.
Hay hoped her gas station stint would draw attention to her energy plan, which has formed the cornerstone of her advertising campaign.
Her chief rival for the Republican nomination is former state department official Sandra Livingston, who is a Flagstaff law professor. She advocates a similar mix of incentives to drill in new areas and tax breaks for companies investigating alternative energy sources.
Hay's energy plan which she explained one gas fill up at a time on Friday includes:
Increase exploration by opening up the wilderness reserves in Alaska to drilling, repeal regulations that limit drilling and exploration of things like oil shale and coastline drilling.
Push to increase construction of more oil refineries, since oil companies have not built a new refinery in the US for 30 years.
Invest heavily in new technologies to burn coal more cleanly, since the US still has abundant coal reserves and the burning of coal is associated with the production of both atmosphere warming gases and fine soot particles thought to be one of the most harmful elements of air pollution.
Push to license more nuclear power plants to boost the percentage of the nation's electricity produced by nuclear from the current 20 percent to a target of 50 percent. Hay says the major impediment to the rapid increase in the number of nuclear power plants is "public fear."
Develop a "carbon-efficiency development tax" credit, so that companies could get a 10-year tax exemption for any money spent developing "carbon efficient" energy sources, like wind, solar, hydrogen, bio-diesel, cellulosic ethanol and others so government will not pick energy "winners and losers" with tax breaks for different individual approaches.
Livingston's energy proposals also call for opening new areas to drilling, including now off-limits wildlife refuges in Alaska. She also stresses developing clean coal technologies, more direct research in alternative energy sources, more individual tax rebates for solar water heating systems, tax breaks for solar companies that set up in Arizona, tax credits for small businesses that reduce carbon emissions, encouragement for hydrogen cars and support for new technologies that will produce ethanol from algae and garbage rather than corn.
Neither candidate has put a price tag on their energy proposals.