Thank you, Becky Klein, for that introduction and for all your hard work with the LCRA.
Last time I spoke to this group just two short years ago we discussed Washington's overreach the looming threat of cap and trade legislation and other potentially crushing mandates coming down from on high in D.C.
I guess the more things change, the more they can get even worse.
Today, the EPA is operating with an activist mindset more suited to an on-campus rally at some California university.
While the EPA has declared CO2 a toxic substance and seized control of our successful flex permitting program Congress continues to eye a cap and trade program that would be a massive blow to our economy.
Instead of celebrating or even emulating Texas' success story the EPA has targeted Texas and the nation's top energy producers.
In light of the economic challenges facing our nation it boggles my mind that the federal government would not only encourage a rogue agency to damage the economy but keep pursuing cap & trade which will kill jobs while driving up the price of everything from electricity and gasoline to food and medicine.
It kind of makes you wonder what Washington DC has against Texas.
It's troubling and it's disappointing, really because we stand at a place in American history where technology and innovation could propel us into a better world a world of cleaner, more efficient energy generated from all sources including wind, solar, biomass, nuclear, and natural gas and, of course, coal.I'm talking about a world where the United States is no longer dependent on foreign countries for energy.Our dependence is a national security issue but, seemingly, not to DC.
Instead of opening doors to America's energy producers by offering them incentives to pursue cleaner options and adopt newer technology Washington seems much more concerned about being in charge.
Washington apparently believes you can't create the new without destroying the established and that the way to create a so-called "green economy" is to simply write a law or a set of regulations that say "it will be so."
That sort of thinking is wildly shortsighted and ultimately dangerous.
It is shortsighted because it ignores a better way and dangerous because it threatens hundreds of thousands of Texas jobs without offering any significant economic or environmental benefit.
That better way can be found here in Texas, where we've been building a deep and varied energy portfolio following a strategy that is both pragmatic and visionary. We're looking to the future, even as we continue to support the development of traditional energy sources which are foundational to any viable energy strategy.
In Texas, we're making tomorrow's technologies more accessible by cultivating a job friendly climate offering incentives to make them more affordable and then getting out of the way.
In August of last year, I had the honor of signing House Bill 469 which offers a prize to the first companies to come up with clean coal processes that not only work on paper, but in real life too.
Under the bill, the first three entities to design and build a coal plant that achieves a seventy-percent carbon capture rate will qualify for a $100 million franchise tax credit.
That incentive is how you encourage innovators to accelerate their efforts that will ultimately clean up our air not through threats and additional miles of red tape.
HB 469 also provides tax incentives for companies purchasing equipment they use to capture, transport and store CO2 and for companies using CO2 for enhanced oil recovery.
This is just an example of the bold steps we're taking to continue our state's tradition of innovation keeping us out front in meeting our nation's energy challenges.
I think the results speak for themselves. Today, Texas produces more wind power than any state in the union and more than all but four countries in the world.
Texas is also increasingly investing heavily in solar energy, with three utility-scale solar projects scheduled to begin construction soon and others in the development process.
Through these measures, we've helped make the air we breathe in Texas cleaner than it was 20 years ago. Between 2000 and 2008, we achieved a 22 percent reduction of statewide ozone levels. NOx has fallen by 53-percent and almost every metropolitan area with exception of Dallas is meeting the current air standard.
For those of you keeping track, Dallas is within one part per billion of meeting the standard as well. In true Texas style, we made those air quality improvements while Texas employers were creating more private industry jobs than any other big state in the union.
Texas created more jobs this year than any other state. This decade, Texas has created more than 850,000 jobs which is more than the other states combined.
That record is no accident. It's the result of strong, conservative leadership sticking to essential fiscal disciplines. First, we don't spend all the money, so we have a surplus ready for a rainy day and our low taxes let Texans keep more of what they earn.
Second, we have worked hard to make our regulations predictable, so business leaders know what to expect.
Third, we reformed our legal system which has improved access to healthcare and allowed employers to spend time creating jobs instead of defending themselves from frivolous lawsuits.
Fourth, we have made our schools more accountable to make our workforce more competitive.
These four pillars of conservative governance have helped stimulate a culture of job creation and innovation that other states can only dream about. In a perfect world, our success would convince the folks in Washington that there is a better way causing them to tout our approach as a model for the nation but we don't live in a perfect world.
While we wait for cooler heads to prevail I encourage you to keep on doing the good work you're doing.
I encourage you to keep providing more and more evidence of the role that clean carbon will play in a cleaner future for all Texans and all Americans.
In my estimation, a healthy clean carbon industry will be a vital component of attaining energy independence and we'll have experts like you to thank for it.
May God bless you, and, through you, may He continue to bless the great State of Texas.