Tell me about the natural gas corridor that runs all the way across Utah from Idaho down to Arizona.
Once we started taking seriously the whole notion of natural gas as a legitimate form of transportation fuel, then we’ve got to get out and prove the point. You can talk policy, but nobody’s ever going to accept it unless there’s a demonstration model. So Utah has a few good entrepreneurs who are getting very good at converting cars from traditional to natural gas. The next logical step is let’s see if we can’t designate a strip of highway as a natural gas corridor and ensure that you can get from point A to point B without any disruption. And that would mean that we’ve got to have more in the way of support infrastructure. You’ve got to have filling stations along the way.
How was that accomplished?
We went to our natural gas provider here in Utah, Questar, and they loved the idea. We talked about it and threw it around a little bit, and they decided that it was something that they very much wanted to take seriously. So we combined efforts. We rolled it out in our State of the State speech, and we designated our major interstate corridor from the Idaho border all the way down to the Arizona border as a natural gas corridor. Questar has now bolstered the infrastructure that they promised to ensure that a car can get from border to border now without running out of natural gas.
How has the state’s new natural gas corridor been received?
You would have been very proud at the rollout of the announcement. We had the head of UPS here locally, Stephen Goodrich is his name, and he’s now talking about converting his fleet, which is probably one of the biggest fleets in our state. That’s a huge deal. And so you start getting serious, you start getting beyond just talk, and you start putting some ideas out front for people to actually see and realize, and it’s amazing the impact it has in terms of people wanting to be part of something that, overall, is good for the economy, good for the environment, and good for American productivity.
As chairman of the Western Governors’ Association, have you been able to interest any of your counterparts in a multi-state natural gas corridor?
You know we’ve talked a little bit about that in the broader planning sense and have kind of taken it up in the Western Governors’ Association by way of conversation and discussion. California has some infrastructure. We have some infrastructure. And Colorado’s interested. So why not make it a reality whereby one can drive from Denver all the way to Southern California without worrying about running out of fuel?
INTERVIEW CONDUCTED, CONDENSED, AND EDITED BY ERIC O’KEEFE