Energy Leaders Gather in Houston; Call for Balanced, Careful Approach to Energy Policy

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Houston Mayor Bill White, speaking to a group of executives who represent an array of energies ranging from solar and wind to nuclear, coal and traditional oil and gas, cautioned Washington to tread carefully when putting together U.S. energy policy.

Houston Mayor Bill White, speaking to a group of executives who represent an array of energies ranging from solar and wind to nuclear, coal and traditional oil and gas, cautioned Washington to tread carefully when putting together U.S. energy policy.

White, who was previously the deputy secretary of energy during the Clinton administration, urged that an integrated view of energy be taken, or the nation could face unintended and potentially dire consequences.

"We need to do these things carefully," White told executives who gathered in Houston on Tuesday, for a daylong series of discussions exploring solutions to U.S. energy security and energy independence. White, as keynote speaker, joined nearly 25 thought leaders and captains of industry who presented their views at the event, "America's Energy Future: Assessing Our Paths to Energy Security." The forum was hosted and organized by the Greater Houston Partnership.

White said the nation should not abandon one form of energy or energy policy for the sake of another. He said that if, for example, a quota was placed on U.S. imports, prices would surge out of control. Or, if environmental standards were lifted on drilling, resources would be quickly depleted, and the country would be in worse shape than before.

"There has been no time when this nation has had more serious choices to make on energy policy," White said.

John Hofmeister, previously the president of Shell Oil Company and current president of Citizens for Affordable Energy, an energy advocacy group, addressed a morning session at the forum, calling for the formation of a new federal board to be created by Congress and authorized by the president to oversee America's energy security needs. Hofmeister likened it to the independent Federal Reserve Board.

"The politicization of energy has turned this nation south," Hofmeister said, adding, "politics will destroy our energy future."

He said that "all forms of energy should have their place in our economy. Let's not discriminate."

Speakers included Walter D. Cruickshank, Deputy Director, United States Minerals Management Service; Amy Myers Jaffe, Wallace Associate Director, Rice Energy Program, Rice University; Victor Carillo, Chairman, Texas Railroad Commission; Dr. Renu Khator, Chancellor and President, University of Houston; Jose Bravo, Chief Scientist, Shell Oil Company; Will Thurmond, Chairman of Research, American Biofuels Council; Steve Winn, CEO, Nuclear Innovation North America LLC; Kevin Howell, President, NRG Texas; Brett Perlman, President, Vector Associates; and Mark Kapner, Senior Strategy Planner, Austin Energy.

Video of the event will soon be made available on http://www.houston.org and at http://www.americasenergycity.com.

For more information please visit http://www.americasenergycity.com or contact John Roper or Micah Hirschfield. You can also follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/energycity or visit our blog at americasenergycity.wordpress.com.

The Greater Houston Partnership is the primary advocate of Houston's business community and is dedicated to building regional economic prosperity. It represents 10 counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto and Waller. With about 2,000 Member organizations, the Partnership represents approximately one-fifth of the region's work force. Visit the Greater Houston Partnership at houston.org.

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