NEP Initiative Receives Bi-Partisan Support

National Energy Policy Initiative intended as "wake up call" for America.

Published: 15-Mar-2002

WASHINGTON, March 14 () -- Rocky Mountain Institute of Snowmass, Colorado played a crucial part in producing set of energy policy recommendations, unveiled today by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) on Capitol Hill. The project, called the National Energy Policy Initiative (NEP Initiative), is embodied in an energy policy statement created through a bipartisan consensus process, a synthesis of the knowledge and experience of 22 leading energy experts.

"We have an opportunity to take the results of the report and urge that they be considered before we get to the end of this process," said Bingaman, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The Senate is now involved in an ongoing debate on energy.

The NEP Initiative report presented today asserts that the U.S. would be both more secure and more prosperous if its energy policy focused more on energy efficiency, diverse energy sources, and investment in lower-pollution autos and electrical generation. NEP Initiative proponents believe past energy policies have lacked vision and failed to provide America's future citizens with a secure, abundant, affordable and safe way to fulfill their energy needs.

"As long as gasoline is cheap and the lights stay on, America is not focused on energy. And that's in spite of the fact that we face a very uncertain energy future. We need a wake-up call," said Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), who participated at the presentation. Bartlett is chairman of the House Science Subcommittee on Energy.

RMI, working with another nonpartisan nonprofit organization, the Consensus Building Institute, of Cambridge, Mass., brought together a panel of 22 senior-level energy experts in early February to formulate widely acceptable objectives, principles and content for America's energy policy. The two organizations sought to create a process to articulate an energy policy built on the middle ground, the ideas that most people agree on.

"When we put aside conflict and focus on shared objectives, we can reach practical agreements that turn tradeoffs into win-win situations," Said Amory Lovins, RMI CEO (Research) in introductory remarks this morning. "We can enjoy the lifestyles we want, with abundant hot showers and cold beer, mobility and comfort-along with the health, safety, and security we and our children need."

The process was completely independent. Ground rules adopted at the outset allowed neither the organizers nor the foundations that funded the effort to influence the outcome. RMI worked with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Kirsch Foundation, Robert Belfer Family Foundation, G.A.G. Charitable Trust, and Janelia Foundation to arrange funding for the project.

"This is not an RMI plan for energy," said energy economist Tom Feiler, RMI's project manager for NEP Initiative. "RMI simply helped to convene the meeting and write the report. It might have come out favoring policies that RMI does not support. This was a big gamble for the Institute, but it's a very important process for the nation."

Bingaman's acceptance of the report buoyed the hope of participants and sponsors that senators will carry the ideas presented in the NEP Initiative process into the ongoing energy debate. The point of the NEP Initiative process, said Feiler, is not to adopt any particular outcome, but to seek consensus on an energy strategy for the United States, clearly reasoned from widely accepted goals and principles.

The NEP Initiative process began with CBI conducting in-depth interviews with 73 business leaders, economists, civil servants, consultants, labor leaders, clergy, consumers, environmental leaders, and representatives of governments, energy companies, and many other organizations. An assessment paper built from a summary of those interviews was passed to the panel of senior energy experts, which included utility executives, former presidential advisors, energy consultants, scientists, professors and energy researchers. The "Expert Group Report" from the conference, presented to Congress today, was endorsed by 21 of the 22 participants and so far, by 10 more experts who were invited but unable to attend the conference. RMI is working to ensure that the report is widely distributed to other interested parties.

For more information on the NEP Initiative, see http://www.nepinitiative.org or call 970-927-7344.

For more information about RMI, visit http://www.rmi.org/

http://www.nepinitiative.org

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