Herbert's Hot Air 

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I am greatly disappointed with the Utah Energy Initiative recently proposed by Gov. Gary Herbert. While I applaud the governor’s efforts to address this crucial issue, the economic vision of his initiative focuses too much on the status quo (dirty fossil fuels) and not nearly enough on developing a clean-energy economy.

Nearly every state in the West is implementing energy policies that embrace and attract clean-energy industries and energy-efficiency technologies.

In Colorado, for example, a wind turbine-manufacturing firm will employ some 4,000 people by next year because that state’s leadership has made clean energy a top priority. More jobs related to clean energy versus the boom-and-bust of traditional energy industries will mean more related business opportunities, more consistent revenues and a broader tax base for Utah.

In other news accounts, Herbert has said he supports renewable energy but doesn’t believe it should be subsidized. Apparently, he and/or his energy advisers believe the myth that renewable energy receives more government support than traditional fossil fuels. According to a recent study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the opposite is actually true: Globally, fossil fuels receive 10 to 12 times more government subsidies than new, clean-energy industries.

Utah has better, cleaner options. States that are embracing clean-energy technologies are seeing their economies grow substantially. Decreasing Utah’s dependence on fossil fuels while increasing clean, renewable energy will ensure more livable urban and rural communities, improved air quality and reduced health problems for all Utahns.

Steven M. Thiese
Salt Lake City

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