Here Come the Governors

By February 22, 2008Energy

Security always beefs up, clamps down and otherwise messes up traffic around NAM-HQ this time of year, as the National Governors Association holds its winter meeting next door at the JW Marriott.

In his capacity as NGA chairman, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is leading a Securing a Clean Energy Future initiative (full report here), which will be the focus of plenary sessions. Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric, will speak about the role businesses can play in advancing energy and environmental innovation, so that’s a high-profile platform for a profitable area of discussion.

The NGA report does feature this regrettable line, repeating President Bush’s most unfortunate utterance ever in a State of the Union address, “Bottom line—The United States is currently addicted to oil…” No. No, we’re not. Are we addicted to copper? Are we addicted to wheat? Our economy consumes oil as one of many commodities, substituting for it when economically rational. This talking of being addicted to oil does damage to critical thinking.

Thankfully, judging from the press release, at least, the NGA discussions take a big picture approach, going beyond the (well justifiable) promotion of alternative fuels.

Later on Saturday, the Securing a Clean Energy Future Task Force members will convene to examine the role of traditional electricity sources, such as coal and nuclear power, in our nation’s energy future and hear how utility companies plan to balance the mix of efficiency, coal, nuclear and renewable energy sources to meet future power needs. Throughout the meeting, several “Governors-Only” sessions will provide governors the opportunity for candid dialogue on reducing the nation’s overall energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions while keeping the economy strong.

That’s a very good, comprehensive approach, the kind you’ll see in the NAM’s plan, “Energy Security for American Competitiveness.”

So, best of luck, governors. Always nice to have you in town, bringing a little bit of homestate experience and accomplishment into the belly of the Beltway beast.

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