Tuesday, November 8, 2011
By D. Ray Tuttle, The Journal Record
BROKEN ARROW – Gov. Mary Fallin said on Monday she will announce a major clean-energy initiative creating hundreds of jobs in Oklahoma and several other states.
Fallin previewed her energy initiative while addressing 435 government and civic leaders at a Broken Arrow Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Monday at the Broken Arrow campus of Northeastern State University.
Fallin will make the announcement with Democrat Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.
“We have been working on this energy plan for more than a year now,” Fallin said during an impromptu press conference after her remarks to the Broken Arrow Chamber. “This has involved many folks from the private sector and not just oil and gas, but from renewable-energy areas like wind – all forms.”
The plan will create jobs for Oklahomans and encourage investment in the state, Fallin said.
Fallin, Hickenlooper and about a dozen local and national energy leaders will discuss the future of energy in Oklahoma during the Governor’s Energy Conference presented by Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business at the Cox Business Services Center.
“This will put Oklahoma on the map even more so as a leader in innovation, encouraging energy exploration and development in the state,” Fallin said.
Government leaders also are attending from Wyoming, Virginia and Louisiana, Fallin said.
“This will encompass clean energy and specifically natural gas, which is an abundant resource in the state,” Fallin said.
Oklahoma’s energy sector has been on resurgence as companies have taken advantage of new technologies in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
The conference will address topics such as new technologies, natural gas supplies, infrastructure issues, energy policy, environmental implications and details on Oklahoma’s natural gas, renewable-energy and smart-grid developments.
Fallin expressed concern for roads, bridges and state property affected by the earthquakes that struck the state on Saturday. The state suffered a rash of earthquakes over the weekend. The two largest earthquakes were on Saturday.
During a question-and-answer segment, Fallin said she plans to work on the state’s tax incentive structure during the upcoming legislative session. Lawmakers are expected to begin filing bills in December for the session, which begins in early February.
“One thing I’d like to see happen is trim the tax incentives or economic development incentives that do not work,” Fallin said. “Hopefully, the tax incentives that may not be producing investments in jobs will be graduated into our income tax rate, making Oklahoma a more attractive state to business."