|NMCEP Energy Conferences|
|The Making of Energy Policy: Where Are We Going?|
The newly formed Center held its first national conference in Hobbs, N.M., on May 27, 2008. Speakers and topics were selected with the anticipation that the nation would be in an energy “crisis” by mid-2008.
The conference theme, “The Making of Energy Policy: Where Are We Going,” attracted over 300 registered attendees, including participation from Washington, D.C. Community representatives from the government, industry and education in southeastern New Mexico and West Texas made informed policy recommendations based upon their unique knowledge derived from living and working in an energy-producing area and papers provided by national participants.
NMCEP aims to serve as the catalyst for energy policy changes discussed at the conference. Its history-making participation began with presentations from Anton Dammer of the Department of Energy, Office of Petroleum Reserves and Oil Shale, and William Kovacs, Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Coupled with a keynote speech by Senator Pete Domenici and an update by Bob Gallagher, President of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, the conference message endorsed a national energy policy that calls for a substantial increase in the domestic production of oil and its products.
A sequence of policy initiatives followed. Senator Domenici recognized Mr. Dammer as a “noted expert” in the oil shale arena and, upon his return to Washington, his staff called for a special briefing. Senator Domenici placed oil shale development (particularly, the repeal of obstructive legislation) at the center of his proposed energy production legislation for 2008.
William Kovacs spoke in support of a new supply of oil and gas as part of a review of high-risk regulatory cost of alternative fuels based on lowering carbon risk through cap-and–trade policy. Within weeks of the Hobbs conference, Kovacs was part of a White House teleconference. Shortly thereafter, President Bush announced he would support oil shale development and outer continental shelf access for exploration and production where it was under restriction.
NMCEP’s Hobbs conference clearly provided a forum for these policy-makers to address what is now the third great national energy “shock” in the last 35 years. Although the impact of the conference on the national energy policy process is recognized, final legislative action awaits Congressional resolution later this summer.