Walters Pleased with New York Trip

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By Lou Anne Wolfe Pleased with the outcome of a weekend trip to New York City, Gov. David Walters said Monday he would like to see a consortium of Oklahoma natural gas producers reach an agreement to supply compressed natural gas for New York City vehicles.

Walters also said he has made an offer to an out-of-state candidate to become the director of Oklahoma's Department of Commerce at an annual salary of $89,000, to which the candidate has agreed.

Walters said he has to make sure the Oklahoma Legislature is willing to appropriate a salary that size, which would be about a $20,000 increase from the current level of just under $70,000.

Walters led an industrial recruiting mission to New York City, combining the trip's business aspects with the opening of the Broadway musical "The Will Rogers Follies."

Walters met with Mayor David Dinkins for 15 minutes, according to John Reid, commerce department spokesman. Dinkins campaigned on the city's need to use alternative fuel to address environmental problems, Walters said, adding that he made a pitch to the mayor that compressed natural gas should be the fuel of choice.

Walters said that to his knowledge, there is not an organized consortium of Oklahoma producers. He said he would try to contact two or three producers to form a financial consortium, which could contract directly with New York City to supply the fuel.

The governor, who had his own state vehicle converted to use compressed natural gas, is scheduled to be the first to draw gas today from a Phillips Petroleum CNG "fill" station at the Hoback Plaza on the Turner Turnpike near Stroud.

Also in New York, Walters said he called on a food processing company that is looking at Oklahoma for a plant expansion, with a potential for creating 200 jobs.

Other business contacts on the trip included Alan Greenburg, an investment banker with Bear, Stearns and Co., who has Oklahoma ties and is a benefactor of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center; William Comfort, chairman of Citicorp Venture Capital Investors Ltd. …