Governor wants state to become a leader in natural gas - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Governor wants state to become a leader in natural gas

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

With oil prices on the rise, the state's top leader is looking to set a new energy course for Mississippi.

To help make it happen, Governor Phil Bryant is teaming up with Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, known for his push of alternative energy.  

"What we're doing is moving towards our own resources in America," Pickens said.

The pair announced a working effort to make natural gas a major element of Mississippi's energy economy, starting with fleet vehicles in both the private and public sectors.  

"This has got to be a system where companies can grow and prosper," Gov. Bryant said.

To put the infrastructure in place, Bryant will be asking the legislature to provide incentives for natural gas fueling stations and conversion vehicles.

Some state vehicles have already been converted, like patrol cars last year at the West Point Police Department.

They use propane and are expected to bring in about $26,000 a year in savings.  

"Anytime you have a good quality product that you get service from and it costs less, that's great thing," said Interim chief at the time Bobby Lane.

Gov. Bryant says natural gas can cost as little as 75 cents a gallon.

Mississippi is now joining in with 11 other states, encouraging automobile manufactures to increase production of vehicles fueled by natural gas.  

"This would lower the cost of fuel and products transported by company fleets," Gov. Bryant said.

Bryant is already working with the legislature to adopt a statewide energy policy which he hopes can open the door for long term growth and create a less oil dependent Mississippi.    

"We will not only create jobs, but we will create new industry in this state," Gov. Bryant said.

"We have more natural gas than any other country in the world so we're, I think, being a little bit stupid to have this resource available to us at a cheap price and not use it," Pickens said.

Gov. Bryant says a key element in making this happen is Mississippi's natural gas pipeline which he says leaves the state with more natural gas flowing through it than any other state.

By capitalizing on that, he believes Mississippi can dominate in natural gas on the national scene.

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