We need to be wise stewards of the resources we extract from our planet. Fossil fuel industries are declining due to free market pressures. We should invest our money where the jobs are—in solar, wind, and other renewable energies, which will result in a better economy; a cleaner, healthier planet; and safer working conditions. Of course we must help employees transition from the jobs of the past to the careers of the future. This will also strengthen our national security—because almost all of America’s enemies benefit when we’re stuck on fossil fuels.
In Carbon County, coal-fired power plants are being decommissioned, and people are losing their jobs. But the infrastructure of these power plants should not be left behind to rust. Transmission lines and substations are utilized by renewable energy too! We should convert these power plants from using coal into producing clean energy.
The easiest transition to make here in Utah would be to take advantage of bio-fuels. Utah’s climate is ideal for growing camelina, which is a good crop rotation for wheat, hay, and barley. After the oil is pressed out of it, camelina can be bailed and used as a cattle feed. The oil is then mixed with diesel to create a low-sulfur fuel that can be used in farm equipment, mining, and even airplanes. Imagine a future where every farm and ranch in Utah not only produces its own fuel, but is selling surplus energy to cities like Provo and Orem!
The US Department of Agriculture has a rural energy grant program for farmers and ranchers called REAP, which helps cover the costs associated with implementing these kind of alternative energy projects. If I’m elected, my office would be glad to assist farmers, ranchers, and mining companies in applying for this and other programs.