Durham, New Hampshire (CNN) - Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman called for eliminating regulations on domestic energy production, funding research into new technologies and diversifying American energy sources in a policy speech Tuesday.
He spoke to a group of about 200 University of New Hampshire students and nearby residents. The remarks came after Huntsman toured the university's cogeneration plant, which converts landfill gas into energy to power campus buildings.
Huntsman, who often tells audiences that as governor he drove a car powered by natural gas, called for breaking oil's "monopoly" as a transportation fuel.
He said the United States needed to invest in "pure" research into alternate sources of energy and building a smart grid, adding states could be the incubators of new energy technologies.
Huntsman said as president he would clear the way for the "continued safe use" of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," a method of extracting fossil fuels which has been criticized for its environmental impact, as well as encourage more domestic oil drilling.
"Yes, there is a balancing act between utilizing our resources and maintaining the integrity of our oceans and forests," he said. "But there is no reason drilling cannot be safely conducted in the Gulf, across the states, and in Alaska."
He said the government's regulations on domestic coal production could cause blackouts this summer.
Huntsman tied America's dependence on foreign oil to its economic difficulties.
"Energy drives everything we do," he said. "How can we stabilize our economy when its most fundamental building block is controlled by despots and dictators half a world away?"
An aide said the former governor was still scribbling notes on his speech as he was driven to the university.
After his remarks, an audience member asked Huntsman about whether he would expand the production of nuclear energy.
"If you care about emissions, and I do, then you have to factor nuclear into the overall mix," he said.
Previously Huntsman has unveiled a jobs plan and a foreign policy plan in New Hampshire.