Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the new chair of the National Governors Association, was in Washington this week to argue that state governments should be a driving force in reducing the nation's dependence on foreign oil and in fighting greenhouse gas emissions.
Republican Pawlenty, who won his second term in the state's top office in a narrow race last year, vowed to make energy a major initiative when he took over as chair of the 100-year-old governors' organization in July. Pawlenty appeared with Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman at the National Press Club to outline how states can advance "smart energy" agendas, such as by setting energy efficiency goals for their own buildings and vehicle fleets. He has also said that states can take steps to encourage more funding for energy research and development.
Energy is a big issue on the radar screens of governors of both parties. Pawlenty noted that this year, 45 of the nation's governors discussed alternative energy or conservation initiatives in their State of the State addresses.