Partisanship hinders progress on US energy policy - panel

05 March 2012 23:55  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Partisanship in the US Congress has made it more difficult to find common ground on an energy policy, officials said on Monday.

Robert Simon, the staff director for the US Senate Energy Committee, said there has been a decline in the number of laws passed by Congress over the last several years.

“There was a time when there was an ideological overlap,” Simon said during a panel discussion on US energy policy during an an election year at the IHS CERAWeek energy conference in Houston. “Over the last several Congresses, that overlap has disappeared.”

For example, so far the 112th Congress of the US has passed 97 public laws, down from 144 public laws passed during the same time period of the 111th Congress.

Maryam Brown, the chief counsel for the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on energy and power, said energy policy can be established in an election year.

“However, things have become more partisan,” she said. “Votes are defined more by the color of the jersey.”

Frank Verrastro, the senior vice president and program director for CSIS Energy and National Security Program, said energy policies of the past have been built around the idea of rising demand and low supply.

The game has changed this year.

Advancements in technology have opened up vast resources of oil and gas in North America, lessening the imports of oil into the US.

Additionally, demand has been flat to down, Verrastro added.

By: Bobbie Clark
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