Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry: Innovators Need Freedom to Solve Our Energy Challenges

Speaks at Unveiling of NRG Energy's Electric Car Charging Station Network
*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Friday, April 08, 2011  •  Arlington, Texas  •  Speech

Thank you David Crane, [President/CEO of NRG Energy] and congratulations on today's announcement.

I think Mayor Moncrief will agree with me when I say this is a great day for the Metroplex and the people of Dallas-Fort Worth, who will soon be able to take advantage of these charging stations throughout the area.

Across this country, there's been a lot of talk about creating the infrastructure to make electric cars more accessible. Here in Texas, people are doing something about it.

I commend everyone involved for the hard work and brainpower that have gone into this project, as well as the sister project in Houston.

When predicting where the electric car would get an early boost into the mainstream, I know everyone figured the oil and gas capital of America would be on the top of the list.
No? Well, if not, it should have been because the Texas spirit has always been one of innovation.

From the initial oil strikes of the early 20th century, through the heart of the space race against the Soviet Union, America has looked to Texas time and again to help meet challenges.

When confronting the twin challenges of alleviating American dependence upon foreign oil and making the air cleaner for existing generations and for the ones that will follow after, the Lone Star State is a natural place to turn.

Today, we're closer to a day when electric cars will be a prominent feature on our roadways, and that's thanks to the innovative spirit and hard work of individuals like these working in the private sector.

To an outside observer, it might seem like Texas is merely lucky to have these types of people working here, and we are fortunate, but there's definitely an explanation of why they come here.

It's because freedom feeds innovation, and we work hard in Texas to foster an environment that frees the private sector to do what the private sector does best: solve problems, meet challenges, and create jobs.

We steer clear of crippling mandates and top-down requirements telling companies how to do their jobs.

We keep our regulatory structures fair and predictable so entrepreneurs can focus on cutting-edge products, not cutting red tape.

We work hard to create a favorable business climate, then we get out of the way.

Unfortunately, some in Washington don't subscribe to the Texas approach.

Indeed, the last few years have seen a telling demonstration of the way the federal government likes to work these days - through intimidation, threats and blunt force.

While we fight to clear the way for private enterprise to develop solutions, Washington fights to force us to follow the pack - their pack.

Instead of having 50 states, each exploring and testing new ideas for dealing with challenges Washington dreams of 50 states marching in lockstep.

That might make the paperwork easier, I suppose, but marching in lockstep makes it tough to try out new approaches, and makes it almost impossible to pursue the sort of innovation we desperately need in this country.

Look no further than our ongoing struggles with the EPA if you need an example of what I'm talking about.

For nearly two decades, Texas had in place a successful, jobs-friendly flexible permitting program that not only cleared the air, it helped us lead the nation in job creation from 2000-2010.

Put in place under Gov. Ann Richards, and operated under the oversight of presidential administrations representing both parties, our program helped us slash our statewide ozone levels by 27 percent between 2000 and 2009, and cut NOx emissions by nearly 58 percent.

In Washington's view, our program has one major flaw: it's different from the processes in place in the 49 other states.

Even EPA Regional Director Al Armendariz couldn't say Texas' air would be cleaner if we'd changed to a federal model 17 years ago.

Despite our success, the EPA nonetheless placed a target on Texans' backs, and continues to try and outlaw this sensible, successful program, endangering the jobs of tens of thousands of hard-working Texans in the process.

With the able abilities of Attorney General Greg Abbott, we will continue to fight Washington in the courts because our system works, and far too many jobs are at risk.

That's just one example, but the thread is consistent.

From emissions to health care to education, Washington wants everyone to follow their standards or pay the price.

We're willing to take our chances because, again, innovators need to have the freedom to innovate, and that's a lot easier to do when you don't have the federal government mandating your every move.

We'll need everyone doing their best as we work to free our nation from foreign oil dependency.

Electric cars are a significant step forward, but folks here will be among the first to tell you that as more electric vehicles hit the streets, the more we'll depend on our electrical grid.

We'll need to get the most out of our natural gas plants and our coal plants, the so-called traditional sources of energy.

We'll also need to make the most out of next generation, renewable sources, such as biomass, solar and wind, and also our next-generation nuclear plants.

While recent events in Japan have highlighted the need for appropriate safety measures, nuclear plants in our state continue to operate safely, currently providing nearly 5,000 megawatts of clean energy to Texas communities.

In Texas, we've adopted an "all of the above" approach to energy development, as opposed to federal, "one size fits all" mandates because it's the only way to meet our energy needs, cut into foreign oil dependency, and improve our air quality without devastating our economy and killing jobs.

Thankfully, the spirit of innovation still lives in Texas, and it's wonderful to see this latest innovation coming to the people of the Lone Star State.

I wish the people of eVgo much success in the months and years ahead, you've certainly got your work cut out for you, but I know you are up to the job.

May God bless you, and, through you, may He continue to bless the Great State of Texas.

 

 


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