Bipartisan Group Seeks Energy Policy Reform

Last week two former senators, a retired Marine general and a member of the  BP oil spill commission gathered in Washington to announce the formation of a group that appears intent on making sweeping changes to the nation’s energy policies. The effort has brought about an organization called the Bipartisan Policy Center and is headed up by former Senators Trent Lott (R-MS) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND), retired General Jim Jones and Oil Spill Commission Co-chair William K. Reilly. According to their statement, the project is intended to provide a “rigorous reassessment of US energy policy, goals, metrics and accountability.”

The group’s energy project is said to be focussed on national energy policy issues such as energy security, supply, reliability, cost and sustainability. Senators Lott and Dorgan co-chair the project with General Jones, once the National Security Advisor to President Obama, serving as National Security Chair, and Mr. Reilly, who was also the EPA Administrator under President George H.W. Bush, serving as Energy and Environment Chair.

US Congress Building

image via Bjoertvedt

As part of their announcement, the group issued a statement which they called “An Open Letter to the American People and America’s Leaders: A New Era for U.S. Energy Security.” Based on their statement, it would seem that the group is dissatisfied with existing energy policies and general energy security and wants to see it changed soon. In the letter, the group expresses discontent with the nation’s existing energy policies and points to issues in the Middle East, North Africa, Japan, and the Gulf of Mexico as examples of challenges that “demand a fundamental reassessment of America’s energy policy goals, decision-making structures, and policies—a reevaluation that places energy security at the very center of energy policy. “ 

The chairmen go on to note that they intend to meet with government and industry leaders in the next few weeks to develop policies and agendas that leverage up-coming legislative opportunities. The team says they intend focus on domestic oil and natural gas production and re-examine energy subsidies, clean energy financing, power sector emissions and reliability, and efforts to reduce US oil intensity.

The project will add a bipartisan group of 10 to 12 additional members who will be announced shortly.  The organization indicated they will issue periodic reports throughout  2011and 2012 and, in December 2012, issue a report on “Energy Opportunities for the President and New Congress.”