Helena mayor supports Pickens energy plan

Published 2:49 pm Thursday, January 15, 2009

Helena Mayor Sonny Penhale knows how important it is for the United States to stop depending on foreign oil.

“We’ve got to get off of (foreign oil). That’s just all there is to it,” he said. “We’ve got to get to where we’re depending on ourselves.”

To do his part to move that process along, Penhale is publicly supporting the T. Boone Pickens energy plan, which spotlights wind energy, solar energy and natural gas as viable alternatives to foreign oil. The Pickens plan also cites alternative energy as a source for new jobs.

“It’s just another way to cut back on energy costs. Every time we do that it’s good,” Penhale said. “It will benefit everyone that way.”

While Penhale supports exploring all forms of alternative energy, he said he didn’t think wind energy would be beneficial for Alabama.

“What I’m reading now is in Alabama, we don’t have enough wind to have a windmill,” he said. “It’s going to have to be in a part of the country that has a lot of wind. We don’t have that here in Alabama.”

Penhale said he would also support nuclear energy, but that ethanol production might immediately benefit the state’s corn farmers.

Whatever happens, it’s essential to work on alternative energy sources quickly but surely, he said.

“We need to move fast, but we need to move at a pace that we know what we’re doing,” he said. “We need to know we’re doing it right.”

T. Boone Pickens is an American businessman and philanthropist who unveiled the Pickens Plan in July 2008.