IOGCC Blasts Call for Energy Commission
Blasting two U.S. senators' plans to set up an energy commission
to investigate recent high natural gas and oil prices, North Dakota
Gov. Ed Schafer said last week the proposal would result in nothing
but finger pointing, and he asserted that there is no "quick fix"
to the nation's energy problems.
Instead, Schafer, a member of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact
Commission, suggested that the federal government should instead
convene a roundtable discussion by a group of bipartisan governors
who would offer "solutions to strengthen the whole nation, not just
our individual states."
Schafer's criticisms were sent in a letter to Sens. Charles
Schumer, D-NY and Susan M. Collins, R-ME, who proposed legislation
last week to set up a $500,000 commission to investigate high
energy prices. The amendment was tacked onto energy legislation
that had already cleared the House. The Senate approved the House
bill and the amendment, and the measure now goes to a House and
Senate conference committee.
Among other things, the non-partisan commission would examine
the causes of energy supply disruptions, ways in which the United
States could become less dependent on foreign oil supplies and ways
to improve refinery capacity and utilization, transportation and
delivery systems and product storage. Collins said last week it
would be the "first step" toward crafting a sustainable energy
policy for the country.
However, IOGCC members, who have long advocated and developed an
energy policy, said much of the groundwork is already in place.
"We will not offer you a magical, instant solution to a problem
that developed over years," Schafer wrote. "A number of politicians
have already initiated 'investigations' that will, no doubt,
attempt to assess blame. But there simply is no quick fix, and
blame can be spread around so broadly that it would be satisfying
to no one. Congress might even have to share some of that blame."
Earlier this year, Schafer, who chaired the IOGCC in 1995, and
fellow member Gov. Frank Keating of Oklahoma updated an energy
policy document written five years ago. The IOGCC governors
represent 30 energy producing states, and in August, led by Schafer
and Keating, it unveiled its new and improved four-prong strategy
that included the following: