A group of U.S. chief executive officers (CEOs) are offering in a new report their recommendations on what a comprehensive U.S. energy policy framework should look like.
The CEOs of the Business Roundtable released a report Monday, "Taking Action on Energy", providing greater detail about the policies needed to make affordable, reliable energy a reality for U.S. consumers and businesses.
The new report is a follow up to the group's March 2012 "Taking Action for America" report. In the previous report, the Business Roundtable identified reliable, affordable energy as a critical strategy to revitalize economic growth and job creation.
"Taking Action on Energy" is an attempt to outline an energy policy framework that is both timely and durable. While many of the policy solutions in the report focus on major issues of the day, the group also attempts to place them within a broader system of national energy policy goals, principles and strategies.
"We believe that the framework outlined in this paper represents a balanced approach to enhancing economic growth and energy security while also reducing the environmental risks associated with criteria pollutants, greenhouse gases and other emissions," said David M. Cote, chairman and CEO of Honeywell International and chairman of the Business Roundtable's Energy and Environment Committee, in a statement.
To support this effort, the organization's Energy and Environment Committee is re-evaluating U.S. energy policy and forging a long-term framework that has the potential to simultaneously advance the nation's economic, security and environmental interests.
The group's initial assessment has found the United States' energy future to be exceptionally bright, Cote noted.
"The nation's energy outlook has improved substantially in recent years due to a confluence of factors that are fundamentally reshaping the U.S. energy landscape, including the development of technologies to unlock vast new domestic oil and natural gas resources and the application of innovative technologies to economically extract and deliver these resources to market," Cote commented. "In addition, the United States remains a global leader in the research, development and commercialization of energy efficiency, renewable energy, new nuclear and advanced coal technologies."
While the shale oil and gas revolution offers a textbook example of the private sector's ability to drive innovation and capitalize on new opportunities, Cote noted that the business community cannot lead the way along if the United States is to sustain its energy renaissance and restore its status as an energy superpower.
The Business Roundtable believes the United States should capitalize on these advantages and accelerate efforts to develop a portfolio of diverse, affordable and efficient options for meeting the nation's 21st century energy needs, Cote commented.
"Despite our optimism, we remain realistic about the difficulty of replacing our ad hoc energy policy with a more purposeful approach," Cote noted. "Making this change will require leaders to engage in an open and honest dialogue about our values and priorities as a nation, as well as the policy and regulatory approaches most likely to achieve them. This report is intended to contribute to that dialogue."
Boosting economic growth, enhancing energy security and promoting environmental stewardship are the three overarching goals the group has identified for a long-term national energy policy. To advance these goals, U.S. policies and regulations should be aligned with the principles of:
Encouraging competition and energy resource diversity
Ensure smarter regulations
Fortify critical infrastructure
Noting that the United States will continue to rely heavily on traditional energy resources such as oil and gas to fuel future economic growth, the group recommended policies to enhance oil and natural gas production, including greater access to onshore and offshore federal lands, including promising areas such as the eastern Gulf, Atlantic and Pacific coasts and Alaska to ensure reliable oil, gas and coal in the coming decades.
The Business Roundtable also called for a streamlined permitting process to substantially lower the anticipated and unanticipated costs of investing in, producing, processing and transporting energy resources while continue to ensure public health, safety and environmental quality. The group also called on the executive branch to avoid regulations that duplicate or conflict with state regulations.
"Any proposal to promulgate new or expanded federal regulations should be weighed against the fact that the states traditionally have had the preeminent role in regulating oil and natural gas activity on non-federal lands," according to the report.
New federal regulation of oil and gas activities on federal lands should be developed in consultation with states and be consistent with state regulations.
Additionally, they called for the "expeditious approval" of infrastructure projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline and other privately funded infrastructure projects.
Regulations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should be based on sound science, undergo thorough net cost-benefit analysis, and take into consideration the net cumulative impact of these regulations on energy costs, economic growth and job creation while protecting the environment and human health, the group noted in the report.