Jim Sims, president and CEO of the Western Business Roundtable, speaks to the crowd Thursday at the Fueling Thought Energy Summit 2008 at the Holiday Inn of Craig. Sims spoke to an audience of area government leaders and energy industry representatives about the challenges the energy industry could face in a "decarbonized economy."

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Jim Sims, president and CEO of the Western Business Roundtable, speaks to the crowd Thursday at the Fueling Thought Energy Summit 2008 at the Holiday Inn of Craig. Sims spoke to an audience of area government leaders and energy industry representatives about the challenges the energy industry could face in a "decarbonized economy."

Looking for balance

Energy summit keynote speaker encourages using multiple energy sources

— It takes more than one.

That was the message Jim Sims, Western Business Roundtable president and chief executive officer, gave to a group of energy industry representatives, local government leaders and community members Thursday night at the Holiday Inn of Craig.

Sims' presentation was a highlight of the Fueling Thought Energy Summit 2008, a three-day event held this week.

"I think the most pressing issue facing the Western Slope is the same issue that faces the rest of the country," Sims said before his presentation.

That issue: The energy industry's adaptation to "an increasingly decarbonized economy," Sims said.

The solution would include a combination of renewable and nonrenewable energy sources, he said.

Sims spoke on behalf of the Western Business Roundtable, an agency representing various industries throughout the West, including coal mining and logging.

Sims also is president and CEO of Policy Communications, an organization that, among other tasks, lobbies at state and federal levels on behalf of companies, organizations and public groups.

Sims also served as the Director of communications for President George W. Bush's National Energy Policy Task Force, according to the Policy Communications Web site.

Sims is credited as the "driving force" behind several think tanks and nonprofit organizations, including Americans for American Energy, the Web site reported.

Sims' experience in the White House was one of the reasons why he was chosen to speak at the event, said Jerry Nettleton, Twentymile Coal Co. environmental manager.

Twentymile Coal was one of 11 individuals and agencies that served on the event's planning committee.

The solution Sims suggested during the presentation required a combination of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, coupled with nonrenewable sources, including oil and coal.

Sims was in favor of using other energy sources to meet the rising demands for energy forecast throughout the West.

"We need more of everything," he said, referring to various energy production sources.

However, Sims said renewable energy sources must be supplemented by their nonrenewable counterparts.

In Sims' view, eliminating one energy source means relying more heavily on others.

"If you don't like coal and you don't like nuclear and you don't like building dams : the only option is natural gas," he said.

The result, Sims said: More drilling.

Drilling is one option that Luke Schafer, Colorado Environmental Coalition northwest campaign coordinator, thinks should be used carefully.

"I think that over the years there's been : too much of a focus on drilling at all costs," he said, "and opening up areas that, in many people's opinion, are just too special to drill.

"Balance means leaving some areas untouched."

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