PHILADELPHIA - As the nation's governors were calling for an energy revolution that would eliminate the reliance on foreign oil and fight climate change, a Bush administration official told them it wasn't "realistic" to think the United States could or should become energy independent.
That was not what Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. wanted to hear.
He called the remarks from a Department of Energy deputy assistant secretary "the most pessimistic comments made today." And later in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune, he said the position will leave the department "on what I think is the wrong side of history.'
The National Governors Association wraps up its summer meetings today (MONDAY) and energy policy has dominated the agenda. In a mostly bipartisan manner, these state executives called for an expansion in renewable sources of energy like wind and solar. They requested more research into capturing the pollution from burning coal and into new types of biofuel. They even delved into more politically touchy subjects, such as increasing offshore drilling and building new nuclear power plants.
But it was the comments of DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary James Slutz, who works in the office of fossil energy, that caused the biggest stir.
He told a meeting of the association's natural resources committee, of which Huntsman is a member, that coal, oil and natural gas will remain "indispensable," and while the United States gets much of its oil from