At a time when Congress' reputation is increasingly of a body prone to stalemated, agenda-driven partisan politics, several leaders committed to finding thoughtful solutions to our nation's energy policy challenges are demonstrating a determination to blunt that image.
Over the past two months, three separate policy leaders, including most recently House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, have engaged on OurEnergyPolicy.org to solicit input from expert thought leaders on myriad energy matters. In the process, they have received more than 70 comments from energy authorities, utilizing a Web-based platform that demonstrates how the Internet can effectively be used to enhance the policy-making process.
In the last year, OurEnergyPolicy.org has featured nearly 60 robust discussions among key energy experts, featuring the site's nearly 1000 experts from various fields - industry, academia, government, law, finance, non-profit organizations, and think tanks. It is a non-partisan, non-political and non-technology specific forum whose goal is to be a vehicle for responsible leaders to work together solving our energy problems.
The breadth of discussion on the site can be seen in the questions posed by Congressional leaders:
• Chairman Upton sought comments on the economic and geopolitical benefits of increasing U.S. liquefied natural gas exports;
• Ryan Abraham, Senior Tax Counsel for the Senate Committee on Finance, looked for input on a proposal to create a dramatically simpler set of energy tax incentives that are technology-neutral, more predictable, and promote cleaner energy produced in the United States; and
• Congressman Ed Whitfield engaged experts on legislation in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that provides an alternative to the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed greenhouse gas standards for new power plants and the agency's planned regulations for existing power plants.
The OurEnergyPolicy.org site also has a rapidly growing on-line resource library, which already features more than 1,700 documents - reports, studies, papers, articles, legislation, etc. -- related to domestic energy policy. In addition, OurEnergyPolicy.org has hosted several panels in Washington with leading industry experts on issues including the need for a national energy policy, congressional and executive branch priorities, the role of oil, the likelihood of a carbon tax, and prospects for electric vehicles. The next panel discussion will be held April 30 at the National Press Club in Washington and feature a top Energy Department official and other industry experts discussing energy efficiency.
With the various energy and economic challenges facing our country today, it is important that the American public fully understands the impacts and costs associated with implementing sound energy policy and addressing emerging energy issues.
We applaud Congressmen Upton and Whitfield and the Senate Finance Committee for their thoughtful approach in reaching out to experts through OurEnergyPolicy.org, and encourage other energy industry leaders to actively engage on the site. A collaborative discussion and serious dialogue on energy policy is essential in order for our leaders in Washington to move forward and achieve real results that can assure the best possible energy future for our nation.