Two former U.S. Senate leaders emphasized the need for bipartisan cooperation on energy policies that can keep America’s Energy Renaissance on track and how U.S. energy policy now impacts the entire world, during an energy policy forum in Houston.

The need to address the critical issues that impact America’s energy future were discussed at a policy forum held by Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) and Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) in Houston on October 28. The forum, “Changing Geopolitics of Energy: Impacts on the Nation, Houston, and Washington, D.C.,” featured BPC Senior Fellows former U.S. Senators Byron Dorgan and Trent Lott, BPC President Jason Grumet, and CEA President David Holt.

Critical issues, from oil exports legislation, to citing of transmission lines and pipelines, to technological innovation and its role in conventional and renewable energy production, were all part of a lively discussion at the breakfast event. Panelists collectively recognized a need for a focused energy policy in Washington D.C. and bipartisan cooperation to support domestic energy supply, national security, and economic growth.

CEA President David Holt emphasized the importance of the Energy Renaissance that is occurring in America, from both oil and gas production, renewables, and efficiency and conservation, and its positive impact on the U.S. economy, energy security, and geopolitics. “We have a unique opportunity here that can better the lives of all Americans. But we need the right policies in place to ensure it continues.”

“The world has changed and in a good way,” Senator Byron Dorgan, who is former chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee, emphasizing the significance of America’s emerging ability to produce the majority of its own energy.  Dorgan described the positive impacts the Bakken Shale Play has had on his home state of North Dakota, but also stressed the need to develop multiple energy sources, stating “fuel diversity makes our country stronger.”

Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott drew upon his experience in the Senate to underscore the need for bipartisan cooperation in crafting the policies that can help America deliver abundant supplies of energy for generations to come “We need to listen to each other and reach consensus,” Lott said, emphasizing the need for statesmanship when it comes to energy policy.

Congress has shown some signs of returning to a more accommodating approach, said BPC President Jason Grumet, who noted that the Senate is functioning more cooperatively. An opportunity for Congress to show it can act in a bipartisan way on energy could emerge later this year with the potential for a compromise energy package that might include language to lift the ban on oil exports. Grumet spoke about the importance of infrastructure development in meeting the nation’s future energy goals and growing the economy. “We have a shared national interest in our infrastructure.”

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