In January, President Obama outlined a future state where 80% of electricity consumed across our union of 50 would be generated from "Clean Energy". Exactly two months later, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is offering you and me a rare chance to define our economy and shape our future.

Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Lisa Murkowski have sought our input to draft Federal Legislation that will support, alter, or stifle our local economy. Should we accept responsibility to submit our comments by April 11 to the following email address: Clean_Energy_Standards@us.senate.gov; or, shall we rely on Washington to define our local economy?

The Clean Energy Standards established by the House could choose energy industry winners and losers! Our locale has many energy-related assets: corn, coal, natural gas, mining service industries, and even cow manure that can be used as a bio-fuel and river currents that could be leveraged to turn generators. Whether these assets are recognized, valued, or ignored will depend on one seemingly trivial question: What is "Clean Energy"?

In forming public policy, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee would like to hear your answer to this question. Should the clean energy standards support only high-profile renewables: wind, solar, and hydroelectric generation? Or should coal-powered generation with carbon-capture technologies be supported? What about nuclear fission in the context of Japan's recent troubles? How about clean burning natural gas?

To shape the Green Economy, you need not know the meaning of all, or even one, of the industry terms in the above paragraph. You need only offer an opinion as to what "Clean Energy" means to you!

Will you share your thoughts, concerns, or questions? If so, express your views directly to the Senate or write the editor. We will then compile, summarize, and forward your concerns to the Senate Committee; ensuring our local prospective on Clean Energy is voiced before Congress.

KEVIN MONTE DE RAMOS is a Barnesville native with over 20 years experience in the energy business.