Governor Chet Culver was in a group of governors who met privately today with President-elect Barack Obama. Culver says he asked Obama to expand the focus of infrastructure projects which may be included in an economic stimulus package to include improvements in the nation’s power grid.
"Iowa can really maximize our potential to be a net exporter of wind energy, but we can only do that with a solid partnership with the new administration, not only in them helping build certain segments of the grid…but just as importantly really breaking through the bureaucratic and regulatory red tape that very often hampers wind development projects," Culver says.
According to Culver, some federal regulators are standing in the way of some wind turbine projects. "The Federal Election Regulatory Commission, for example, has enormous power to really speed up these state and regional wind energy projects," Culver says. "But right now there’s a lot of bureaucracy at that agency."
Vice President-elect Joe Biden was in today’s private meeting, too. "The vice president afterwards told me that, you know, that message really hit home with him and he hear my loudly and clearly and he agreed with what I was saying," Culver says.
Obama met with all the nation’s governors earlier today to offer general assurances that the federal government would be a partner in trying to resolve some of the budget dilemmas states now face. As for the State of Iowa’s budget, Culver directed state agencies to submit proposed cuts last week.
During a conference call with Iowa reporters Tuesday afternoon, Culver refused to say what he may do. "You know, we are going to have a lot more to say about that next week," Culver said.
Culver told reporters he’ll meet with the lieutenant governor as well as his top budget advisors to cull through the recommendations. "And I’ll make some decisions as soon as possible and we’ll formally roll out that plan early next week," Culver said.
Listen to Culver’s conference call with Iowa reporters by clicking on the audio link below.