An energy focus helps develop Utah’s thriving economy

When Gov. Gary Herbert took office in 2009, he set his focus on getting Utah’s economy back on its feet. At the height of the Great Recession, he recognized energy development was a necessity in achieving that goal.

That is why, in his 2010 State of the State address, Gov. Herbert called for a strategic 10-year energy plan that combines Utah’s rich abundance of diverse natural resources with the state’s entrepreneurial spirit to ensure Utah is at the forefront of solving the world’s energy challenges.

“If you have an energy sector that is a part of the economic development, chances are you will have a healthy, growing economy,” Gov. Herbert said.

The governor’s focus on energy as a part of economic development has proven beneficial as Utah is now recognized as a premier global business destination in part due to its competitive energy costs.

While the governor focuses on energy for economic development, he also recognizes Utah is known for its natural beauty. Energy development must be done in conjunction with preserving the quality of life that draws people to Utah. The governor works hand-in-hand with local and federal groups to determine the best path forward that will still preserve Utah’s rich environment.

And the results speak for themselves. The unemployment rate in Utah has fallen from 8.4 percent in 2009 to 3.4 percent giving Utah the third-lowest unemployment rate in the nation. Also with 3.7 percent job growth, Utah is tied for second-highest job growth in the nation. This all being accomplished while maintaining clean and affordable energy. Utah has taken actions such as limiting government fleet vehicle idling time and encouraging participation in the Utah Clean Air Partnership. SNL Energy’s recent edition of “Power Daily” even featured Utah as an optimistic center for energy development, balance and innovation.

So to answer the question of why energy is a focus of his administration, Gov. Herbert says, “Economic development coupled with education coupled with energy equals economic prosperity and a very bright future.”