As the Obama administration gets ready to start its second term, now is the time for it to reevaluate how the nation’s energy policy offices can be better structured, said a Washington, DC-based think tank Tuesday.
As part of a larger report, which is to be released in early 2013, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) urged the Obama administration to consider restructuring the number of agencies that are overseeing energy policy. “The U.S. Department of Energy and the 20 other agencies involved in energy policy each play an important role in the development and implementation of our national energy policy.
“But with that many agencies involved in energy issues, coordination, implementation and oversight are often difficult,” said former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), one of the co-chairs of the BPC Strategic Energy Policy Initiative. “While the Obama administration is currently assembling itself for the next four years, the time is ripe to re-evaluate how our energy policy offices can be better structured,” he said.
The recommendations will be part of a broader report, “The Executive Branch and National Energy Policy: Time for Renewal,” to be released next year by the Strategic Energy Policy Initiative, which is co-chaired by Dorgan, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), Gen. James L. Jones USMC and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William K. Reilly.
The report will recommend a framework and process within the executive branch for regulatory review and assessment of national energy policy priorities. It calls for combining a high-level national energy strategy with a companion Quadrennial Energy Review.
“With the beginning of a new presidential term, we have a remarkable opportunity to institutionalize a process for creating strategic national energy policy,” Jones said.
Energy policy in the U.S. has a “mixed” track record, at best, the BPC said. On one hand, the national economy and the environment have benefited from sustained gains in energy efficiency and productivity, it said. But on the other hand, energy policy in the United States has also drawn frequent criticism for lacking long-term vision, being captured by special interests, and being poorly implemented and coordinated.
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