Effort to Seek Solutions Finds Broad Agreement, Yields Mix of Good and Bad in the Details

WASHINGTON (December 8, 2004) -- The report issued today by the National Commission on Energy Policy is an important effort to identify opportunities for possible consensus on challenging energy policy questions. It constitutes a major step forward in many areas, but also reflects outdated thinking in several key areas according to NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).

The report findings illustrate just how far off track Congress and the White House have gone with an energy bill that subsidizes the biggest polluting energy companies and does nothing address our dangerous dependence on foreign oil or the problem of global warming.

"The Commission has identified critical problems with current energy policy, and found agreement on some helpful solutions. That's a stark contrast to Congress and the Bush administration. But Commission prescriptions don't go nearly as far or as fast as we need to go to fix global warming and oil dependence," said Wesley Warren of the NRDC Advocacy Center. "It also contains some truly terrible ideas. More and better opportunities are out there. We need to use every one of them."

It is very big news that everyone involved agrees on the need for concrete limits on global warming pollution as soon as possible. This is a major step forward in the discussion. Commission members did not agree on limits strong enough to get the job done, however.

But some very old-style thinking has found its way into the Commission report, too. For example, the section on nuclear power suggests costly government subsidies to jumpstart the moribund industry.

"Big federal subsidies for constructing new nuclear power plants would be a giant burden on the American taxpayer, especially since nuclear power plants continue to have unresolved issues regarding nuclear proliferation, safety risks and waste disposal," Warren said.

"What we need today is a sensible energy policy that keeps our economy rolling without compromising our national security, our health, or the oceans and landscape that are our national endowment. As the report makes clear, Congress and the Bush administration have not gotten this job done." Warren continued.