Gov. Barbour opens Southern Growth Policies Board convention

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Governor Haley Barbour is presiding over this week's meeting of the Southern Growth Policies Board at Beau Rivage in Biloxi.

Monday's speakers talked about the challenge of meeting future energy demands and the problems with national energy policy.

"In these times of increasing energy dependence and job loss, the South finds itself in a pretty unique position," said Southern Growth Policies Board Director Ted Abernathy at the opening session, "We have high potential in both natural and human resources."

The conference theme is "Southern Energy: Abundant, Affordable and American."

During his welcoming remarks, Governor Haley Barbour took aim at the Obama administration's energy policy.

"Instead of more American energy and more affordable energy, the result of these new proposals is a much higher cost of energy in the name of addressing climate change as an imminent crisis," said Governor Barbour.

The governor told his audience the proposed cap and trade tax would increase taxes on oil and gas companies by $81 billion and have Mississippi residents paying $50 to $60 more per month on their power bills.

"These policies have in common that they would all inevitably and substantially increase the cost of energy to American families and American businesses, particularly manufacturing," said the governor.

Southern Company CEO David Ratcliffe said meeting future demands for energy will require a combined approach.

"There is not a silver bullet here. There is not a singular technology that we see as an industry, not just a company, but as an industry that will solve all the needs that we expect in a post-recessionary, growing economy," Ratcliffe said.

He spoke about the Southern Company's plans to build a new nuclear plant in Georgia and a new clean-coal gasification facility in Mississippi.

"That will capture at least 50 percent, may go to 65 percent of the CO2. It will be the next generation of clean coal technology for this nation and for this world," he said.

Oil man T. Boone Pickens is Tuesday's keynote speaker.

The Southern Growth Policies Board conference is a prelude to next month's Southern Governor's Conference, which will also be held in Biloxi.

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