Based upon the increasing level of interest and participation, the Utah Governor's Energy Development Summit, has proven to be one of the most critical energy forums in the Intermountain West.
With representation from Utah's Congressional delegation, the Western Governors Association and a plethora of state leaders, the summit drove home the message that the western states have become leaders in energy production and they are willing to develop their resources responsibly.
"As the western states act and think like energy producing states, that message will become stronger and stronger," says Samantha Mary Julian, director of the Office of Energy Development (OED). "The summit is helping to position Utah for an exciting energy future that embraces a diversity of resources within a dual focus on responsible practices and economic growth," says Julian.
In Utah, the energy industry accounts for 20,000 jobs -- about 1.5 percent of the working population -- but pays 180 percent of the state's average wage. To say the state's energy industry is booming is an understatement. Perhaps that is why interest in this year's summit was profound, not only from the significant increase in attendees over last year but also from the support of 70 sponsors and the involvement of well over 100 expert speakers from around the country.
To be sure, the summit afforded some 1,400 attendees, representing 22 states and six foreign countries, the opportunity to examine the key issues in the ever-changing energy sector and to understand the significant value energy adds to Utah's world-class economy. It also provided a forum to discuss a wide breadth of energy issues, ranging from energy policy and environmental regulation, to technological developments, job creation, energy security and many other timely topics.