NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

PRINCIPLES TO GUIDE U.S. ENERGY POLICY

June 29, 2007

There are big and growing problems with America's energy supplies, complicated by myths and misunderstandings about energy that have led Congress to enact policies that actually harm America's ability to meet its energy needs.  This has to change, says the Heritage Foundation.

The government should focus on a few key principles, says Heritage.

Avoid costly environmental regulatory mandates that will achieve little environmental gain:

  • Numerous costly regulations have been proposed or implemented to address various environmental goals, from water quality to global warming.
  • However, past experience shows that mandates can be expensive and economically harmful while making only marginal progress toward environmental goals. 
  • The full cost of current and proposed regulations and mandates, including the economic and security impact, should be evaluated and compared with the likely environmental gain.

Rely on the private sector's research and development capabilities:

  • The competitive private sector is best able to improve fuel efficiency and develop the next generation of fuels.
  • The best way to secure abundant energy sources in the future is to encourage entrepreneurs to discover them, not for agencies and congressional committees to try to pick winners with directed research, regulations, mandates and subsidies. 
  • Entrepreneurs need a regulatory, trade and tax system that creates the best climate for private sector innovation.

Urge government agencies to learn from the private sector:

  • The Department of Defense is one of the world's biggest customers for petroleum products, but it does a poor job of thinking about long-term energy costs.
  • The military and the rest of government should adopt the best practices of the private sector to enable them to make smart buying decisions.

Source: Stuart M. Butler and Kim R. Holmes, "Twelve Principles to Guide U.S. Energy Policy," Heritage Foundation, Backgrounder No. 2046, June 26, 2007.

 

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