Chasse: Turning to something that’s on just about everybody’s minds right now, gas prices are going through the roof, almost I think over $4 a lot of places – not quite yet here in New Hampshire, but certainly pretty close… so energy is increasingly on voters minds.
What would be your plan to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and, to give a little local flavor, we’ve got a nuclear power plant here in New Hampshire – Seabrook – and would nuclear be a part of that plan?
Barbour: Well let me just start off by saying the Obama administration’s policy from the beginning has been to drive up to cost of energy so Americans would use less of it. That’s not energy policy, that’s environmental policy. They’re doing that to reduce pollution.
From when I was chairman of the Southern Growth Policy Board, Obama’s first year, we had a conference on energy policy just because of this problem.
What we need in America is more American energy. We need more oil. We need more natural gas. We need more coal. We need to learn to use it cleaner and we are learning to use it cleaner.
But we also need more nuclear. We have a nuclear power plant in my state. About 20% of Mississippi’s energy is generated by nuclear and it’s the least expensive baseload power that we have.
But at the same time we’re building a coal fired power plant in Mississippi that not only will use indigenous liptinite coal, it will be the first commercial scale carbon capture and sequestration coal fired power plant in the United States. It will emit at the rate of a natural gas fired power plant.
So when I say all of the above, I mean all of the above. We make solar panels in Mississippi. We’re deeply involved in conservation and efficiency – a very important part of energy policy.
But for us to become more energy secure, it’s very simple. We need to produce and use more American energy.