May 14th, 2010
11:51 AM ET
13 years ago

Energy policy can emerge without Congress, expert says

Washington (CNN) - As the energy and climate debate in Congress faces partisan gridlock and new problems caused by the massive oil spill in the Gulf, one expert says the U.S. is already changing energy policy without Capitol Hill.

"We have action at all levels of government," said Prof. Marilyn Brown, an energy policy expert at Georgia Tech.

Brown points to President Obama's directives to raise gas mileage in cars and trucks as well as state and local tax credits for more efficient cars and homes.

"We have a renewable fuel standard put in place," Brown said, stressing that the oil debate is not the only piece of the energy equation. "We have electricity and have biofuels and we are pressing hard on both of those."

But, could a major energy or climate bill get through this year? Many in Washington doubt it.

Brown says that the BP oil spill has killed Democrats' strongest olive branch to Republicans: potential expansion of offshore drilling.

"Bill proponents don't have that leverage any more, they can't trade off with a Republican desire for offshore drilling," Brown insisted. "That's a thing of the past."

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Filed under: Energy
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. energy policy expert

    code word: she is taking the oil money

    May 14, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. Fitz In Texas

    "Brown points to President Obama's directives to raise gas mileage in cars and trucks as well as state and local tax credits for more efficient cars and homes."

    Obama needs to set an example and a good place to start is for Obama to stop wasting our tax dollars and flying all over the place campaigning and leaving his carbon foot prints everywhere.

    May 14, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "Brown says that the BP oil spill has killed Democrats' strongest olive branch to Republicans: potential expansion of offshore drilling."

    Huh. So one might say the GOPers, not the Dems, may reap more poltical leverage from this disaster? Perhaps there's another Brown out there who might want to rethink his conspiracy theories.

    May 14, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. John in Brooklyn

    Brown gets it only half right.

    She correctly points out that Democrats can no longer use offshore drilling as a leverage point for a new energy bill.

    However, she fails to point out that the oil spill has also undermined the political support for Republicans' arguments that expanding drilling in vulnerable environments (like the everglades, Gulf of Mexico, or the Alaskan tundra) is the answer to our over-dependence on foreign oil.

    Net-net....the Democrats are actually coming out stronger in this situation since ANY bloacking of energy legislation by Republicans this year will appear as though they are backing irresponsible oil companies like BP.

    May 14, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. independent thinker.

    I am in favor of solar I mean the sun is burning me up right now. I also like natural gas its plenty of that. Scared of nuclear. I am ready 2 ween off oil because it fund terrorist and is destroying the enviroment. Thanks CNN 4 toning down the hate topics today.

    May 14, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. ib

    This cap & scam bill should die. It's nothing but tax increases on every form of energy we use. It will make life harder for low income and senior citizens. If Obama and company are so concerned about carbon why doesn't he park AF1 for more than two or three days. Just think what a carbon footprint Obama is leaving; he and Gore are two of a kind.

    May 14, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. Ted

    The Republicans are fools and the Democrats are fools thinking they can pass any bi-partisan legislation.

    May 14, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "But, could a major energy or climate bill get through this year?"

    Not if it means more taxes, which is what cap'n'trade implied a lot of.

    May 14, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. Liz the First

    It's good to see so many folks taking the climate change issue seriously. sad that Congress isn't among them. we may yet see a technological solution to the problem and it may come even faster than gov't can mandate the changes we need to save ourselves. for all those posters on this site who scream 'hoax!' whenever climate change comes up, i'd love to see you post your academic credentials for making such a judgement. have you spent years studying all the scientific disciplines that worked together to finally understand this crisis? or are you just going with your gut? climate change is happening now. it's in our faces. ask the folks in Tennessee who just saw the results of it up close and personal. these 'thousand-year' storms will be commonplace soon if we don't all do our part to clean up our act and stop listening to the cowards who can't face the truth.

    May 14, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. Obama the liar

    another enviromental whacko

    May 14, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. haren

    Energy policy should add more tax to all corporation and no safe heaven out side of country to hide tax obligation.
    Righty please note we don't have high tax rate which you cry about from top of the roof every time you talk on the media.
    Thanks for all that loop hole created by you in last 20 years.

    May 14, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. Michael

    We've got a mess in the Gulf of Mexico, China is going full speed ahead to develop emerging green technologies and the jobs that go with them, no reputable scientist disputes the impact our burning fossil fuels is having on climate change.....and what are we doing about it?.......a bit fat zero.

    Thanks to the knuckleheads in Congress and elsewhere, the U.S. is positioning itself for failure when we could be leading the way in 21st century energy technology and, did I mention?........JOBS!!!!!

    May 14, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. Smith in Oregon

    Energy policy can emerge without Congress? Huh? Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Corporations that are big on fossil fuel POLICE themselves?

    Of course that doesn't work and American taxpayers are sick and tired of being on the hook for the Health and Toxic waste these corporations spew out and cause across America, especially if heavy federal regulations are not restricting them from poisoning the air, water and land.

    May 14, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. GI Joe

    Bye Bye gas guzzlers.

    Hello Hybrid and Electric !!! Been waiting for you a long long time.

    (We Drive a Camry Hybrid now – love it - no recalls on top-o-the-line).

    May 14, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Thanks John in Brooklyn@ for your explanation. I guess that explains why we who are suffering in Tennessee have been completely ignored by the President. It was not to the political advantage of the Democrats to help. Kinda sounds like an Obama thing.

    May 14, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    Obama behaves like a dictator, and so does Congress. There is no difference. No one represents the people.

    May 14, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Sarah Palin is a liar, she said her daughter Bristol chose not to have an abortion even though the media was tough on her. Bristol chosing not to have an abortion was because she and Levy were suppose to get married, or was that another lie.

    May 14, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |