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Low-tech law could reduce energy consumption by 6%

December 31, 2009


A Frederick County, MD state delegate plans to reintroduce a bill to stop homeowners associations and local governments banning clotheslines.
Delegate Galen Clagett, a Democrat, said the bill is one of several he hopes to revive this year after it failed to win support in the last General Assembly session.
He hopes doing so would promote the use of clotheslines and help reduce the state’s energy usage.
“That (clothes) dryer is a consumption pig; it takes a lot of electricity,” Clagett said. “This is a way for everybody to do a little bit.”
The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates U.S. households used about 66 billion kilowatt-hours to operate clothes dryers in 2001, about 5.8 percent of total national energy consumption.
If Clagett’s bill becomes law, associations would still be able to regulate where clotheslines are placed to keep them from being an eyesore.
The idea caught Clagett’s attention because his commercial real estate business helps manage homeowners associations. In many cases, clotheslines are not allowed and homeowners have complained to his business, he said.
The bill was killed by the House Environmental Matters Committee last year, but Clagett said he is dedicated to the idea.
Gov. Martin O’Malley, has called for the state to reduce energy use by 15 percent by 2015. Clagett thinks the bill could further that goal.
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