Energy Task Force Proposals Should Be Ready in April
The White House energy task force plans to forward
recommendations for a national energy policy to Capitol Hill in
early April, according to a high-level staff official for the task
The task force favors making specific policy recommendations
rather than sending its own comprehensive energy legislation to
Congress, said the staff official at the winter committee meetings
of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners
(NARUC) in Washington, D.C. last Tuesday.
The task force's recommendations will take three forms: proposed
executive actions, regulatory agency actions, and recommendations
to Congress on comprehensive energy legislation, he noted. The
recommendations will be outlined in a report.
The "comprehensive document" will address a wide range of
issues, including the role of conservation and efficiency, the role
of alternative energy sources, short-term energy supply disruption
issues, an overview of U.S. energy supply and demand, the impact of
energy production on the environment, protections for consumers
(especially low-income families) and infrastructure investment.
In addition, the task force is examining the role of the federal
government on energy matters, the staff official noted. While in
some cases the federal government may need to get out of the way of
industry and the private sector, in other situations it may need to
undertake a more pro-active role, he said.
The task force members, according to the official, are eager to
receive feedback from the energy industry and the private sector on
what needs to be included in a national energy policy. That's where
the really good ideas come from, he said.
He indicated the Cabinet-level task force probably would have a
different take on some of the energy issues than Sen. Frank
Murkowski (R-AK), who introduced an omnibus energy bill in the
Senate last Monday. But he declined to identify areas where the
White House and Murkowski might differ. All in all, he thinks the
Murkowski bill contains a lot of good ideas for the energy industry
The task force meets formally every couple of weeks, he noted.
Sitting on the panel are the secretaries of the departments of
Interior, Treasury, Energy, Commerce and Agriculture, as well as
the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the
directors of the Office of Management and Budget and the Federal
Emergency Management Agency.
Each department and agency has designated a staff member to work
on the development of the energy policy. They meet two or three
times a week together, and also separately to address different
components of the report.