US energy deal might be reached by August

15 July 2008 18:15  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS news)--High gasoline prices have changed the political playing field in Washington, and a compromise over US energy policy that has befuddled leaders for 15 years may be reached by August, the head of a fertilizer trade group said on Tuesday.

“It’s amazing what can happen when Congress spends five years on an issue and tries to fix it in 15 minutes,” Ford West, president of The Fertilizer Institute, said at the Southwestern Fertilizer Conference.

Alternative fuels used to be viewed with scepticism, particularly over cost issues, “but $4 gas has changed all that,” West said.

As long as high energy costs continue to be passed on to consumers every time they go to a gas station or grocery store, US politicians will be under intense pressure to broker a deal over exploration and alternative investment concerns, West said.

“What we’ve struggled to find a compromise on in 15 years may be fixed between now and the August [Congressional] recess,” West said.

High gas and oil prices have also led to more attention being given to alternative energies that previously encountered more cynicism, West said.

“The environmental community wants to move us away from a carbon based economy. They want us to have electric cars, to move away from the carbon-based oil, gas and coal, and that’s a big challenge for our economy,” West said.

Republican presidential frontrunner US Senator John McCain was friendlier to the fertilizer industry on the issue of energy exploration and production than Democratic US Senator Barack Obama, West said.

The Southwestern Fertilizer Conference, held annually in San Antonio, runs through Tuesday.

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By: David Rosen

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