AMP Plus Energy Politics

Governor Hutchinson pushes for focus on energy diversity heading into 2017

Joe Kramer
Written by Joe Kramer

LITTLE ROCK (October 24, 2016) ~ Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson will be chairman of the  Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission for 2017. He succeeds Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.

Governor Hutchinson has expressed in the past the role that energy diversity will play in Arkansas’ economic growth. As chairman, Governor Hutchinson will be responsible for coordinating with neighbor-states to set regulatory standards for developing energy resources and implementing energy regulations within Arkansas.

Governor Asa Hutchinson

“I look forward to advancing state regulatory programs during my time as chairman as we work together to set the national standard as leaders and innovators of effective energy development,” Hutchinson said in ant interview with AMP.

In recent years, the United States has made the transition from importing most of its energy to exporting its surplus.

Recent technological advances have allowed the United States to tap natural gas more efficiently as well as reduce the costs for solar and wind energy. Arkansas is projected to be a diverse producer of energy for the region.

“Energy will play a significant role in driving economic growth in Arkansas,” Governor Hutchinson said. “Unconventional natural gas drilling has helped create an enormous potential export market. And since the cost of solar and wind technology has reduced, the solar industry has added more than 115,000 jobs over the past six years.”

Talk of jobs in the United States has proven to be a contentious topic amongst Democrats and Republicans and has been a focal point for debates between presidential hopefuls over the past year. While there are many branches on this job tree, Governor Hutchinson feels that energy will play a vital role in manufacturing jobs here in Arkansas.

“It is important to know, regarding the manufacturing sector, that the first key principle in energy policy is to assure the diversity of our energy sources. Our manufacturing processes in Arkansas continue to consume more energy than our other economic sectors. So when we protect our energy portfolio, we are better able to maintain in-state manufacturing jobs.”

With a new presidential administration on the horizon, state leaders around the country are worried what a blue or red presidency will mean for their individual energy interests. While Arkansas has the natural resources and diversity to grow as an energy exporter, many worry that federal regulation will hinder progress.

“Federal government mandates have led to many states watching their coal industries struggle and almost disappear as a result of these regulatory burdens,” Governor Hutchinson said. “Many companies are frustrated and reluctant to use coal. Burdensome federal regulations are creating great uncertainty in the energy marketplace, which is why it’s critical to have conservative leadership that will work to reduce the federal governments’s involvement in states’ decision-making process.”

While Republicans look at diversification as the way to maintain growth and economic freedom, many worry that regulations put forth by the Democratic agenda will hinder plans to pursue growth in both clean and fossil-fuel based energy sectors.

“Our state and national leaders need to work together to bring greater awareness to our country’s most vital resources. Building diversity is a key factor in supplying adequate and affordable energy resources for the benefit and security of our citizens. Depending on the election and the impending court ruling on the Clean Power Plan, we could see significant changes to our current interstate electric-energy grid system and the energy-resources base that will be used to support it.”

As one of the country’s top ten natural gas producers, Arkansas has experienced a six-fold increase in energy production in the past decade. According to a report from the Institute for Energy Research, “Arkansas has substantial natural gas reserves. The state’s natural gas production currently accounts for about one percent of national output. Companies are beginning to extract small amounts of natural gas from coal bed methane deposits in Arkansas.”

In his new role, Governor Hutchinson will be going head-to-head with blue opposition in Washington, especially if Hillary Clinton is elected to the Oval Office.

About the author

Joe Kramer

Joe Kramer

Joe Kramer is a former reporter for AMP. Joe has written for the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway and served as editor for The Echo newspaper at the University of Central Arkansas.

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