CEA outlines five policies needed to safeguard energy affordability and continued economic growth.

HOUSTON, TX – Following up on the President’s third State of the Union address, Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) today outlined five energy policies that the U.S. should advance to improve positive economic growth, energy stability and affordability. The policies outlined by CEA include:

Approve a National Energy Policy:  Due to a lack a clearly defined national energy policy this activity has essentially been forced to the hands of federal regulators.  This imperils the short- and long-term availability of dependable, affordable energy for consumers and thus threatens our continued economic advance.

Make Needed Infrastructure Improvements: Quite simply, the nation’s ability to produce energy is exceeding our capacity to distribute it. There is a glut of oil in Oklahoma, our ability to get natural gas to market is constrained and new renewable energy sources are often far from the population centers they serve.  Therefore, we should immediately approve the Keystone XL pipeline, advance natural gas pipeline permits expeditiously and support a build-out of electrical transmission infrastructure.

Streamline Federal Permitting:  The approval timeframe for a federal application to drill an oil or natural gas well increased to 307 days in 2011. In many states, this process takes less than 30 days. Moreover, the approval process for new nuclear power plants is measured in years.  The federal government should streamline the permitting process to improve the efficiency of the permitting system, reducing the risk for litigation, and improve transparency.

Support Energy Efficiency Programs: Increased energy efficiency and conservation can lead to significant cost savings for American consumers and make American businesses more competitive.  The federal government should continue to support programs such as ENERGY STAR or NextGen that responsibly encourage efforts to adopt more energy-efficient technologies and behaviors, save energy and reduce consumer prices.

Expand access to oil and natural gas and increase R&D for renewable energy: Simply allowing greater access to oil and natural gas resources could generate an additional $1.7 trillion in government revenues. The Department of the Interior should issue a new Five Year Plan that includes annual leasing in the Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico. At the same time, we should better allocate federal support to wind and solar energy to determine ways to increase competitiveness in the marketplace.

The suggestions stem from the group’s annual Report to Congress which will be distributed to congressional offices in the coming days. In announcing the policies, CEA President David Holt released the following statement:

“It was encouraging to hear the President note that advancing an “all of the above” energy policy is resulting in real improvements to our economy and environment. However, while much has been achieved more work remains to be done to secure our energy and economic future.”

“Right now, we are, in a sense, a victim of our own success, as our ability to produce affordable sources of energy is exceeding our capacity to deliver it efficiently to our nation’s consumers. This is constraining the growth we can achieve and the benefits that will ultimately be provided to the U.S. consumer. As a result, we must invest in our energy infrastructure for both fuels and electricity.  In addition, it’s critical that our elected leaders develop a national energy policy, streamline federal permitting, ensure efficient regulation for our nation’s power providers, including our nuclear and coal utilities, increase support for energy efficiency programs, expand access to oil and natural gas resources, and increase research and development funding for renewable energy systems.”

“The combination of these approaches will enable our energy success to continue and will result in significant economic advancements as nearly every sector of the economy relies on affordable energy to transport its goods and services, power its facilities, and manufacture its products.”

“Given the President’s desire to lead on energy issues, CEA is hopeful that these modest proposals will be advanced in the President’s second term. To do so, we must focus on solutions, avoid false choices, and empower innovation to help us reach our nation’s true energy potential.”