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Red, White, and Ready: The Patriotic Push for Energy Legislation

After 10 years of waiting, some experts say a Republican-controlled Congress and a patriotic mood will make the difference in passing energy legislation this year.
Fortnightly Magazine - May 1 2003

once world events and uncertainties are resolved one way or another-the economy will bubble on and pick up its pace. We are not going to be prepared as a country for that economic rebound with the infrastructure as it currently exists. We need investment in gas delivery systems, electric transmission systems, and generation.

We need to encourage investment in technologies that are already proven, already ready to serve our future needs. What better way to do it than provide tax incentives for building important components of the American economy and getting us ready to export those components to other corners of the world as the world economy makes those demands as well.

Will Congress likely get involved with FERC's proposed standard market design, and if so, how?

Versions that I am aware of do not get into it. I don't necessarily think that they will, but again, it is one of those questions better asked of the senators and House members.

How would an energy bill promote repair and expansion of our energy infrastructure?

We know, for example, that people have given a great deal of discussion and thought to the need for this country to develop its diversified portfolio of energy sources, and an energy bill could do that in so many ways.

[For example], we have a dumb old transmission system in this country. It virtually is the system that was conceived 100 years ago working via mechanical switches and things like that.

We need to invest in our transmission system so that it operates just as we have to understand the operation of the Internet. The technology already exists for us to do that, and we need to send the right signal that we want that type of development to occur. That would serve us so well for homeland security and the underpinning of our national, regional, and state economies.

What would you like to tell our readers about the direction of energy policy in the United States?

I really think it is time to add clarity for investment purposes, for national homeland security purposes, for increasing fuel diversity portfolio development, and to encourage the deployment of already proven technologies. The real zipadeedoodah economy that we have experienced throughout the mid- and late '90s was powered not just by the dotcom explosion, but also was driven by this country's access to moderately priced energy in all forms, and a very workable type of infrastructure across the board in energy, telecommunications, water, and all those underpinning infrastructure components. We need to make sure once our economy starts to recover that we have the pieces in place to sustain that.

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