Transcript of Huntsman’s remarks on energy:
Voter: Governor, we’re importing a lot of foreign oil and exporting those dollars overseas.
Talk a little about your energy policy to reverse that trend and how we can be more self sustaining with our energies in the country to support our economy.
Jon Huntsman: Well, I want to start by leading a conversation in this nation that points out how ridiculous it is to maintain this heroin like addiction to imported oil, and the transfer of wealth to the tune of $300 billion a year that lands in countries that having nothing more than a transactional relationship with the United States.
I would say, “We’re losing a huge opportunity here, when we can be doing it based upon what we have in great abundance here.”
So we wake up to the reality in this country that – we were talking about this earlier – we have more gas than Saudi Arabia has crude oil.
I say, “How stupid are we?”
I mean, when are we going to wake up and get with the picture here, and start converting more to transportation, converting more to power and electricity generation, and converting more to basic manufacturing, where we’re at maybe 19 percent.
They want to go higher, but they need that clarion call from the bully pulpit that says, “Folks, it’s not a mandate, but here’s where our country is going in terms of energy independence. Jump on the bus. We’re not looking back, we’re moving forward.”
I’ll tell you how many companies would start moving in that direction.
There’s just been no clarity in terms of where we go.
So as the first Governor to sign onto the Pickens Plan, I like the natural gas part of the Pickens Plan, and I’ve talked to T. Boone Pickens several times about energy and our energy needs.
And I say, you can talk about the multiplicity of products that we can begin drawing from.
That’s all a reality. I think it’s very real.
I think the sun and the wind will play a role in the future.
I think inevitably that’s where science and technology takes us.
The question becomes, if we’re going to do it in a non-subsidized fashion -- we’re all learning that you can’t do it in a subsidized fashion. It crashes and burns.
We’ve got to build a bridge from our today to that inevitable tomorrow, whenever that is.
And I say, lets begin building that bridge with the products we have in abundance.
And here’s the one thing I want to do.
When elected president, because you can’t, again, I’m not one to promise the moon.
I say, here’s the one step I’m going to take, because I lived this reality when I drove a natural gas car as Governor.
I never thought I’d drive a natural gas car.
I ran into an entrepreneur in the northern part of our state.
He said, “I’d love to take that black Suburban of yours and convert it to natural gas.”
I said, “I had no idea that you could even do that.”
So you know, thinking in terms of wanting to move towards greater energy independence, I said, “Go for it.”
Tooled around the state.
We started a wide ranging conversation around the state about alternative fuels only to find that the rate limiting feature was there was no distribution.
There were no fill up stations.
And the last thing the Governor wanted was to get caught 300 miles from nowhere.
So I went to our public utilities and said, “Folks, you can either be ahead of this debate or you can be behind. I think you’re going to want to be ahead. I need some help in building some infrastructure so we can designate a natural gas corridor and get the marketplace moving so people begin buying up.”
Which they did.
People responded to that and they were right on it.
We ended up designating a natural gas corridor, which I thought was pretty cool.
But the one thing I want to do as President, I want to break up this one product distribution monopoly, because it’s not serving our needs.
And it favors oil, and only oil.
And I say, that’s not right.
That’s not fair to all the other products that we want to begin drawing from.
And I think it could be the most powerful contribution towards energy independence of anything.
Because, let’s face it, if we’re going to make energy independence or steps towards that goal a reality, we’ve got to have the infrastructure with which to do it.
You know, words are just words unless you can actually talk about the infrastructure.
So I want to do to that distribution system what we did to broadcast communication back in the early 1970’s when we went from three stations to a multiplicity of stations.
And I say, it’s going to take the Federal Trade Commission.
Of course, it’s going to take the Senate Judiciary Committee.
They all have to be part of it.
But let’s start the journey, and let’s get a President who can actually advocate in favor of making that very important step, without which it’s a whole bunch of talk and we don’t have the infrastructure in place with which to get something done.
So I think that would be the most important contribution we could make, and I want to get behind it.
Video of Jon Huntsman’s energy comments courtesy of C-Span: