Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. —
When Gov. Mary Fallin began studying the relationship between energy and the environment, she realized the two were inextricably linked.
That is why Fallin made two remarkable choices in the last several months. The first was to combine two state offices that have been traditionally separate-the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Environment.
Her second was to head the office with someone who had years of experience in both, former Tulsa District commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, Col. Michael Teague.
Teague, who took office in early September as the first Secretary of Energy and Environment, will be the featured speaker at the Northwest Oklahoma Alliance luncheon, Tuesday (Nov. 19) from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will take place at the Woodward Conference Center.
According to Teague, who visited with the News late last week, his comments Tuesday will be a type of preamble to what might be considered a primary doctrine of the newly combined office - that being, where energy is developed, no matter what kind, the environment is an equal part of the equation.
“It's hard to talk about the wind energy industry without talking about the Lesser Prairie Chicken and hard to talk about the utility industry without referencing air quality and emissions," Teague said. "There is just so much overlap between the two."
Achieving benchmarks in construction, such as the development of clean water resources and power distribution all while considering environmental impact studies is nothing new to the 30 year Army veteran.
"The advantage we (the experience of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers) have is that we are not the environmental guys, we are not the gas guys, we are not the wind guys - in the Corps you are all of those things," Teague said. "But I can't take the credit for putting these two offices together, that belongs to the Governor."