As a "recovering governor," I believe a major role of government is to create a nurturing environment where businesses can grow and create new jobs while also playing by the rules and being good corporate citizens. Nowhere is this role clearer than in our efforts to find new and sustainable sources of energy in the United States.
Our country's dependence on fossil fuels means that we send over $250 billion a year overseas to pay for oil imports, often to countries that don't like us very much. This dependence also exacts an enormous public health cost as we spend billions of dollars annually to treat health problems triggered by air pollution, as well as costing the lives of tens of thousands of Americans every year. Working together, I believe we can find a better way. And if we are smart about it, we can put thousands of Americans to work, while improving our environment for generations to come.
Setting a long-term clean energy goal may be the catalyst our country needs to spur American innovation and production of clean energy technologies, including wind, solar, nuclear, and advanced vehicles. In his State of the Union address, the president called for a goal of 80 percent clean energy by 2035. Is that an attainable goal? How do we get there?