US CEOs call for increased oil, gas access, end to wind subsidies
Washington (Platts)--25Feb2013/337 pm EST/2037 GMT
As the US Congress develops its energy priorities for the coming session,
a national association of CEOs on Monday called on the federal government to
ease oil and gas permitting, re-evaluate the impact of regulations on the
electricity industry, and gradually eliminate wind power subsidies as part of
a broad national energy strategy.
In its 57-page strategy paper released Monday, the Business Roundtable
also recommended increased incentives for state-level energy efficiency
programs and increased federal funding for "pre-commercial" energy research
"America is on the threshold of a historic, long-term energy boom, but
what is holding us back is the lack of a national strategy for taking
advantage of this vast opportunity," John Watson, the CEO of Chevron, said
during a phone call with reporters.
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"It is vital that the government work with us to develop a policy
framework that supports investments by expanding access to public land,
onshore and offshore, streamlining approval processes for major energy
projects such as the well-known Keystone pipeline, creating regulations based
on sound science and thorough cost-benefit analysis and recognizing and
respecting the roles of state and federal government, particularly in the
area of shale gas development," he said.
The recommendations come two weeks after President Barack Obama in his
State of the Union address called for action from Congress to deal with
greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change and pledged to speed
permitting for oil and gas development on public lands.
However, the Obama administration has yet to approve an application for
the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry heavy crude from Alberta, Canada,
into the US, and which has been opposed by environmentalists.
Among the changes, the Business Roundtable hopes to see not only
streamlined permitting, but also increased access to onshore and offshore
federal lands for oil and gas drilling, and increased cooperation with states
in developing regulations to govern that development.
The CEOs also said that reducing federal hurdles to natural gas
development would lead to more production and reduce the controversy over
liquefied natural gas exports. While many in the natural gas industry would
like to export LNG, US manufacturers have opposed it, arguing that it would
raise prices and make them less competitive against foreign manufacturers.
"We need to encourage further production of oil and gas in the US," said
David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell International and chairman of the group's
energy and environment committee. "We shouldn't be put in this position where
we have to decide one or the other. With the amount of supply that we have
out there, if we could encourage that, there is a way to do both here."
LNG exports to countries that are not free trade partners with the US
require the approval of Obama administration, and despite 17 applications so
far, only one facility has gained that approval.
The Business Roundtable also recommended that Congress or the
administration re-evaluate the impact of Environmental Protection Agency
regulations on power plants, improve federal coordination on applications for
electricity transmission siting and planning, and promote energy efficiency
programs in states and within the federal government.
The group would also like to see a gradual elimination of incentives,
such as tax credits, for wind power, and a system for limiting federal
incentives for other renewables.
"Sound energy strategy must maintain fuel diversity for power
generation, support investment in our nation's transmission system, provide a
long-term solution for storing spent nuclear fuel and consider the economic
consequences of energy and environmental regulation," said Nick Akins,
president and CEO of American Electric Power.
Some utilities have complained that EPA regulations aimed at reducing
greenhouse gas emissions will force them to close coal-fired power plants.
AEP is one of the largest utilities in the country, and coal accounts for the
majority of its production.
--Derek Sands, email@example.com
--Edited by Jason Lindquist, firstname.lastname@example.org