Italian islands ponder oil-free lifestyle

A group of islands off the Tuscan coast of Italy could make environmental history by going oil- and coal-free.

Italy's ANSA news service reported this week that residents of the islands -- which include Elba and Montecristo -- are interested in protecting the area's delicate natural beauty. The proposal was made by Mario Tozzi, chief of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park.

"It would be the first oil-free national park in Europe and perhaps the first in the world," he said.

Tozzi proposes that all electricity be generated by renewable sources -- such as solar, wave and wind power. Also on the table is the idea that vehicles would switch from gas to biofuels made from Tuscan sunflowers.

"This would liberate the islands from pollutants," Tozzi told ANSA. "It would also slash local emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that cause global warming."

The green proposal will be put to a vote among the islanders.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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