Public Issues Committee Report

Title: Public Issues Committee Report
Publication: The Outcrop, April 2005, p. 14

In 2001, President George W. Bush released the Report of the National Energy Policy Development Group. This report recommended the following topics to guide future comprehensive energy policy legislation:

  • Energy challenges facing the U.S.
  • Impacts of high energy prices on family, community, and businesses
  • Sustaining the nation’s health and environment
  • Increasing energy conservation and efficiency
  • Increasing domestic energy supplies
  • Increasing renewable and alternative energy
  • Having a comprehensive energy delivery system
  • Enhancing national energy security and international relationships

Attempts to develop legislation in Congress to address these topics in a comprehensive national energy policy over the last four years has failed due to partisan disputes, differences in economic interests, and philosophical differences. A new strategy being proposed by some members of Congress could abandon the passing of comprehensive energy policy legislation in favor of splitting key pieces of the policy into separate legislation. House Energy Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) said that he wouldn’t pursue national energy policy legislation in the 2005 Congress. He said that he would consider moving parts of the bill one piece at a time. However, Senate Energy

Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) said that a comprehensive bill is the still the best option. Other members of Congress have a wait and see attitude, depending on this summer’s energy problems.

In December 2004, the National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP), a group of energy experts from industry, government, labor, academia, environmental and consumer groups, released their version of what should be in energy policy legislation. For now, the report has the eyes and ears of the media, government, industry, and advocacy groups.

The NCEP report recommendations are:

  • Expand global strategic petroleum reserves to ease the impact of oil disruptions.
  • Subsidize a natural gas pipeline to bring Alaska’s reserves to market.
  • Support the industry-opposed CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency) standard for auto fuel efficiency.
  • Offer $3 billion in government incentives for hybrid-electric and advanced diesel vehicles.
  • Continue U.S. heavy reliance on coal for power generation, with increased focus on “clean coal” technologies.

The full report is located at http://www.energycommission.org/news.