NRDC Responds to Report of the National Commission on Energy Policy

WASHINGTON (March 5, 2010) -- Wesley Warren, the Director of Programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, issued the following statement today in response to the release of the National Commission on Energy Policy’s report, “Expanding Production from America’s Domestic Energy Resources”:

“The NCEP report rightly calls on Congress to pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation, which would include a cap on carbon and measures to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources of energy. We’re pleased that NCEP has made clear that a piecemeal approach is not sensible.

“We’re also pleased that NCEP has called attention to the enormous potential of Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), which in conjunction with feasible transportation efficiency improvements, could cut U.S. oil imports in half, helping the economy and enhancing national security without raising new environmental concerns. EOR uses carbon dioxide captured from power plants and factories to get more oil out of existing domestic oil wells. As NCEP notes, Department of Energy estimates indicate that 45 billion barrels or more of oil could become available through EOR. That additional oil will not be tapped in the absence of a carbon cap; a cap will provide the incentives to create the supply of carbon dioxide and to continue to pump oil from existing wells.  

“But we disagree with many other aspects of the NCEP report, which focuses exclusively on environmentally problematic fuels. Of greatest concern are the following:

Nuclear Energy

“NRDC believes that providing additional subsidies for the nuclear power industry would be a mistake. This is a mature industry that generates high-cost, non-renewable electricity and radioactive waste. Resources devoted to nuclear power are resources that are not available to develop cleaner, more innovative sources of energy. 

Off-shore Oil Drilling

“We continue to have grave concerns about expanding offshore oil drilling and would point out that Enhanced Oil Recovery offers far more domestic oil without raising new environmental concerns. We strongly oppose the revenue sharing proposals in the NCEP report. Federal oil revenues, which belong to the federal taxpayer, should be used for programs that would result in real environmental improvements for our coasts and oceans. Revenues should certainly not be used to create an incentive to lure states into opting to approve oil drilling. 

“NCEP comprises experts with a diverse set of views, who are acting in their private capacity, not as a representative of an organization. Ralph Cavanagh, co-director of NRDC’s energy program, is one of those members.”