2015 appears likely to see more high profile policy activity on energy issues than we have seen for some time. Between Congressional agendas and Obama Administration regulatory actions, energy and environmental policies appear poised to be high-profile throughout the year.
A number of key issues will garner the attention of policymakers.
While the debate over the Keystone XL Pipeline has attracted the most media attention, numerous other energy and environmental matters are on the table. EPA will issue final new source performance standards, and the proposed existing power plant rules continue to bear intense scrutiny. Impacts on cost, reliability and this year's Conference of Parties (COP) in Paris raise central questions regarding President Obama's Clean Power Plan.
EPA has also issued a proposed rule for regulating methane emissions from new sources, which could significantly impact the future of hydraulic fracturing in the U.S. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) may come under fire in light of low gas prices and uncertainty about volumetric blending requirements. Low gas prices are also impacting the debate on oil and gas exports. And the last-minute tax extender deal in December only delayed discussions of the Production and Investment Tax Credits.
By the time the world convenes in Paris next December, the year will undoubtedly end as it began -- with robust debate about America's energy and climate future.
No one can seriously question the impact that energy issues have on our economy, national security and environment. The common thread among all of these issues is that none have simple answers and all are likely to face their fair share of heated rhetoric. If we want to make progress on these and other energy issues, the key will be a civil and constructive discussion on the issues.
OurEnergyPolicy.org was founded several years ago to create a non-partisan, online platform for experts from all perspectives to do just that. It is now being used by Members of Congress to solicit diverse viewpoints on proposed legislation and policy questions. The site has become the preferred destination for more than 1,000 expert participants from all over the country to engage each other in a substantive, serious dialogue on energy matters.
Recent polls have shown that the American people's disgust for partisan stalemate and dysfunction in Washington has reached deeply troubling levels. Americans realize that we, together as a country, face serious problems that cry out for leadership, responsible debate and a cooperative effort to find innovative solutions and consensus.
It is OurEnergyPolicy.org's mission to provide this much needed, non-partisan forum, putting the Internet to use in the service of enhancing our democratic process. As a forum for open, rational dialogue, it represents the effective use of digital technology to help break the dysfunctional deadlock in Washington.
I invite you to visit our website, www.ourenergypolicy.org, and to participate in moving the energy policy discussion forward throughout this critical year.