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Have you ever stopped to think about how much we depend on energy (electricity, gasoline, natural gas, etc.) in our lives? Energy allows farmers to deliver the food we need to grocery stores at affordable prices, and it ensures that the food won’t go rotten overnight. Energy powers life-saving healthcare technologies and devices that so many people depend on. Energy gives us the chance at a good job by getting us to work every day, whether by car or public transit. Energy helps policemen and firefighters get where they need to be to protect us. Energy keeps our homes and families protected from Utah’s weather. The list goes on.

The point is that everyone we care about and everything we value – our families, our jobs/businesses, good schools, safe communities, a strong economy, even our very lives – depends upon access to abundant and affordable sources of energy. Without cheap energy and lots of it, we would not only lose many opportunities to improve our lives, but we could even lose access to some of life’s most basic needs. And the people harmed the most by such circumstances would be low-income Utahns, who need more economic opportunities, not fewer.

Because of these realities of life, state and local government energy policy should:

  • Allow reasonable access to and development of all energy sources Utah has to offer
  • Use sensible regulations to keep the environmental impacts of energy development at acceptable levels
  • Avoid radical extremes that would indefinitely block access to potential energy sources
  • In this context, trust people acting responsibly in the free market to innovate and find solutions to society’s energy and environmental problems

So what?

Following principles of limited government, personal responsibility, and free markets in the areas of energy and the environment will mean:

  • More energy-related jobs, providing especially low-income Utahns more opportunities for economic advancement
  • Energy prices (gasoline, natural gas, etc.) that are more affordable for Utah families, as free market competition forces energy producers to increase quality and decrease cost
  • Efficient and effective spending of tax dollars on actual solutions to environmental problems, rather than a never-ending chase after the newest “eco-fad”

What can we do about it?

Utah should pursue energy policy solutions that balance wise environmental stewardship with the need to access and develop more energy sources. These policies should bring private businesses and environmental advocates together to address reasonable environmental concerns without blocking development of Utah’s natural resources, as Utah has proven effective at doing.

Policymakers should also allow development of all of Utah’s energy resources, both renewable (solar, wind, geothermal) and non-renewable (coal, natural gas, nuclear). Policy should seek to establish a level playing field among these competing industries, allowing people in the free market to choose for themselves which energy sources are best for their needs.

Dig deeper

Blog: Energy and conservative environmentalism

Policy Paper: Getting the Environment Right: Conservative Environmentalism

Blog: Reasonable thinking on the environment

Earth Week Briefs:

  • The New Civil Rights Struggle: Access to Affordable & Efficient Energy
  • Avoiding Blackout: The Case for Nuclear Energy

Nuclear Power Fact Sheets:

  • “The Other Green Energy”
  • Radiating Economic Benefits for Utah
  • The Core of Nuclear Power: Affordability

Natural Resources Fact Sheets:

  • Natural Resources Keep Utah Open for Business
  • Natural Resources: Lighting Our Future
  • Natural Resources Are a Boon to Rural Utah

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