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Public Statements

Hearnig of that Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee - Exploration of Current Energy Landscape and Solutions for the Future

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

As a witness during the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today, Senator Mark Pryor presented his legislation, S.1703, to establish a long-term energy strategy in the United States. The Committee is exploring the current energy landscape and solutions to better coordinate and prepare for the future. Below is Pryor's prepared testimony:

Thank you for having me here today. I appreciate the opportunity to present the Quadrennial Energy Review Act of 2011 before this committee. You don't see a lot of bipartisan support for legislation these days. Yet we have a different story to tell here today. I believe it's because we can all recognize the need for a long-term energy strategy, and we can all foresee the economic and security risks that lie ahead for America without one. I especially want to thank Chairman Bingaman and Ranking Member Murkowski for their original co-sponsorship, as well as Senators Coons, Begich, Burr, Tester and Alexander.

I am optimistic about our energy future. Time and again, America has shown her ability to seize opportunities when they present themselves and to create them when they do not. I am convinced America can develop and deploy new energy technologies that are more efficient, clean and enhance our national security. In my State of Arkansas, we are leading the nation in the responsible development of our vast natural gas reserves. We need to leverage this creativity, entrepreneurial culture, and a restored leadership in science and technology to spread innovation in the energy sector and spur economic growth.

Our energy needs mirror our security challenges, and the solution to meeting these needs can be addressed in a similar fashion. In the end, the country that best manages its energy resources will lead the 21st century and provide its people a secure energy future. The U.S. needs to win the energy race and this bill will help put us on that path.

One of the biggest gaps in federal energy policy is the lack of an overarching vision and coordination among federal agencies to define how the United States produces and uses energy. Every president since Richard Nixon has called for America's independence from oil. We also need to make sure that our nation has a 21st century electric grid that matches supply with demand. If we want to create a more secure energy future for America, then we need to develop a national energy plan that coordinates and integrates the energy policies of the various federal agencies. The development of such a policy would enhance our energy security, create jobs and mitigate environmental harm.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu recognizes this challenge. In 2009, he tasked the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) with identifying and recommending ways to accelerate the transformation of energy production, delivery, and use. Led by Dr. Moniz, one of PCAST's most important recommendations was for the Administration to establish a new process that can forge a more coordinated and robust Federal energy policy, a major piece of which is advancing energy innovation. The report recommends:

"The President should establish a Quadrennial Energy Review process that will provide a multiyear roadmap that lays out an integrated view of short-, intermediate-, and long-term energy objectives; outlines legislative proposals to Congress; puts forward anticipated Executive actions coordinated across multiple agencies; and identifies resource requirements for the development and implementation of energy technologies."

Last year, the American Energy Innovation Council sounded a similar call. This group of prominent business leaders came together to call for a more vigorous public and private sector commitment to energy innovation. Its members include former and current high-ranking executives from Lockheed Martin, Xerox, Microsoft, Bank of America, DuPont, GE and Cummins, Inc. Their recent report, Catalyzing American Ingenuity, noted:

"The nation needs a robust National Energy Plan to serve as a strategic technology and policy roadmap. We support DOE's Quadrennial Technology Review, which we see as an important and meaningful first step toward developing a national energy strategy. The federal government should build on the QTR and move quickly toward a government-wide QER."

Our legislation specifically addresses these recommendations and is modeled after the highly-regarded Quadrennial Defense Review. The QDR is a legislatively-mandated review of defense strategy and priorities that sets a long-term course for the Department of Defense to assess the changing defense threats and challenges that the nation faces. It is my hope that the Quadrennial Energy Review can do the same for our national energy programs.

As the lead agency in support of energy science and technology innovation, the Department of Energy has taken the first step to developing a national energy plan by conducting a Quadrennial Technology Review of the energy technology policies and programs of the Department. The QTR serves as the basis for DOE's coordination with other agencies and on other programs for which the Department has a key role. I commend Dr. Koonin for leading the QTR and I look forward to his testimony today.

The next step is to build upon DOE's report and perform a Quadrennial Energy Review. The QER would establish government-wide energy objectives, coordinate actions across Federal agencies, and provide a strong analytical base for Federal energy policy decisions. The Review can significantly contribute to the development of a national energy plan. It would provide an in-depth assessment of energy end use sectors -- whether they be buildings, industrial facilities, transportation, electric power or agriculture -- and the policy choices for increasing our domestic energy production. The Review would also assess our energy supply options and evaluate how we store, transmit and distribute energy across the country.

Our bill, the Quadrennial Energy Review Act of 2011, would authorize the President to establish an Interagency Working Group of senior level government officials to submit a Quadrennial Energy Review to Congress by February 1, 2014, and every 4 years thereafter. The Group would be co-chaired by the Secretary of Energy and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

With the Quadrennial Energy Review, we can achieve the bipartisan goals of creating jobs, increasing domestic energy production, and providing enhanced energy security, while moving America toward a cleaner and healthier environment. Thank you again for the opportunity to present this bill and I look forward to working with the Committee on its passage.


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