When he takes office in January, President-elect Obama should create an office within the executive office of the president to coordinate implementation of all aspects of energy policy, with the new office’s head sitting on both the National Economic Council (NEC) and the National Security Council (NSC), according to an energy plan proposed last week by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber’s energy policy road map, “A Transition Plan for Securing America’s Energy Future,” includes 88 recommendations and detailed timelines for Obama and the 111th Congress, including a call for permanently lifting restrictions on the development of both traditional and renewable domestic energy sources.

“For too long the federal government has limited energy options for the American public by placing over 80% of our domestic oil and natural gas resources off-limits to investment and investing less in clean energy technologies today than we did immediately after the 1970s oil embargo,” the chamber said. “Such actions are a self-inflicted wound to our security and prosperity.”

The chamber recommended that both the head of the proposed new office and the Secretary of Energy sit on both NEC and NSC, “since energy policy affects and is affected by all economic and national security policy.”

In July the chamber and a bipartisan group of energy officials and industry leaders released an open letter to Congress and the next president calling for a strategic long-term energy policy for the United States. At the same time it unveiled 13 “fundamental pillars” that it said would build the foundation for a new policy, including accelerating energy efficiency across all sectors; modernizing and expanding energy infrastructure; transforming the transportation sector including greater use of alternative and renewable fuels; and expanding the use of nuclear power, coal and renewable energy as well as new domestic exploration and production of oil and natural gas. The group advocated reducing the environmental impact of energy use and increasing investments in climate change research, and it calls for addressing critical shortages in scientists and engineers through education and training programs, incentives and visa policies.

The chamber last week said that within one year Congress should pass and Obama should sign into law comprehensive energy legislation incorporating all of the 13 pillars it has recommended.

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