When Governor Ricketts apointed me as Director of the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on March 2, 2015, I was excited at the opportunity. I looked forward to being part of a Department that had a long history of making sure our citizens were safe by providing clean air and water while at the same time reducing the regulatory burden placed on our businesses and industries.
On August 1, 2018, Governor Ricketts appointed me as Interim Director for the Nebraska Energy Office (NEO). Comming from Missouri to live in Nebraska, I've been impressed by the "Nebraska Way" of getting things done. We lean into problems, we treat each other with respect and are laser focused on achieving results improving our efficiency and focusing on creating opportunities for Nebraska.
I've discovered the Nebraska Energy Office has a dedicated staff willing to work together as a team and step-up to challenges when presented with obsticles. NEO's staff works hard to get the job done the "Nebraska Way", working to provide the best possible service to the people of Nebraska.
The Nebraska Energy Office and Department of Environmental Quality have many things in common. There is a nexus between energy and the environment. The Energy Office works to reduce carbon emissions from power plants in many ways. The Energy Office brings together local governments and stakeholders, providing assistance and working together to build a renewable energy system using our abundant resources.
The Low Income Home Weatherization Assistance program weatherizes the homes of low-income and elderly citizens. Weatherization reduces a customer's utility bill, saving them money and energy. Less energy use reduces a utility’s emissions thereby providing cleaner air, which is also the goal of the Department of Environmental Quality.
Growing Nebraska is an important part of what the Energy Office does. The Dollar and Energy Saving Loan program provides loans at very low interest rates to help consumers make energy efficiency improvements in homes, businesses and local governments across the state. Money saved through reduced utility bills is used to repay the loan over several years. Consumers continue to enjoy lower energy costs long after loans are paid. DEQ also has a revolving loan program to help business and industry make improvements that keep our air and water safe.
There are more examples of interests the Energy Office and Environmental Quality have in common — I've identified just a couple. I'm thankful for this opportunity to serve the Energy Office during this interim, but most of all I want to assure you my focus will be to join the synergies between DEQ and the Energy Office to make efficient use our common goals and to provide exceptional service to the public through more effective, more efficient and customer-focused state government.