Thank you Bill [Jackson, VP of PACCAR Inc and GM of Peterbilt Motors Co.] for that introduction, and I'd like to thank everyone here at Peterbilt for taking me on a tour of this facility.
Those of you unfamiliar with the story of this plant here in Denton, allow me to sum up: This is a facility that employs Texans to produce trucks powered by natural gas produced right here in Texas.
I think we all can get behind that.
This factory stands as yet another example of what's possible when innovative minds are given the freedom to explore, to try new approaches and meet challenges in unique and exciting ways.
That's always been the Texas model, and it's working.
It's working from the standpoint of creating jobs with Texas home to the most new jobs in the nation since 2001, and 45 percent of the new jobs created in the United States since June 2009, according to the Dallas Fed.
It's also working from the standpoint of cleaning the air with our ozone levels down 27 percent from 2000 to 2009, the most improvement in the nation, and our NOx emissions down nearly 58 percent.
A lot's been said in the last few days about the EPA's continuing efforts to take over Texas' regulatory systems.
For reasons of their own, Washington insists that new layers of bureaucracy, layers that add cost but don't do a thing to improve air quality are reason enough to destroy our successful flexible permitting program, as they continue to take more and more control over state matters.
We're not here to talk about them today, though, this is a day to talk about smart, effective government.
The 82nd Legislature passed several bills that will help Texas continue to lead the nation in energy production and expand our use of alternative sources of power, an area in which we're already a national leader.
SB 20 sponsored by Rep. Jim Keffer, who's with us today, will create a new "clean transportation triangle" between Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, helping add the infrastructure necessary to allow natural gas-fueled trucks, such as the ones produced here, to expand their range across our state.
We also passed legislation to increase transparency in energy production.
SB 527, co-authored by Sen. Nelson and sponsored by Rep. Tan Parker, provides for additional air monitoring stations around the Barnett Shale region, and HB 3328authored by both Rep. Keffer and Rep. Parker requires additional disclosure of the materials used in hydraulic fracturing.
This new fracking material disclosure law, one of the first and the strongest in the nation, will help ensure safety and environmental quality, while encouraging American energy production and reducing dependence on foreign oil.
Taken together, SB 527 and HB 3328 will reinforce what we already know, that hydraulic fracturing is a safe, effective way to unlock decades' worth of energy trapped far beneath our state's surface.
The success of hydraulic fracturing led to the opening of major fields in Barnett Shale, along with newer fields in Haynesville in the Northeast and Eagle Ford down South, creating thousands of jobs, millions in investments and providing more affordable energy for Texas families.
Again, this was not a success that was created through a mandate or because of draconian penalties or based on ever-shifting numbers on a bureaucrat's spreadsheet.
This was a success created by the brightest minds of our energy industry who tackled a challenge head-on and created the drilling techniques that would be hailed by energy experts as the "biggest innovation of the first decade of the century."
The state's biggest contribution was keeping our economic climate favorable, keeping our regulatory system predictable and fair, and then simply staying out of the way.
That's the way it's supposed to work.
Truth of the matter is, America needs all the innovation we can muster to reduce our dependency on foreign sources of energy.
And again, our combination of job creation and improved air quality here in Texas proves that there's a way it can be done, The Texas way.