WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 2 -- The US should not overlook its oil and gas resources as it tries to develop energy alternatives, two trade association executives said in response to the energy research initiative President George W. Bush announced in his Jan. 31 state of the union address.
"While the president's proposals to seek new research and development for alternative technologies are valuable steps, it is equally important to assure that the nation maximizes its domestic oil and natural gas production," Independent Petroleum Association of America Pres. Barry Russell noted.
"In part, this means that federal resource areas, including offshore resources, need to be available to diminish reliance on unstable energy sources. This also means that federal research and development needs to be directed toward improving development of domestic oil and natural gas resources at the same time that new energy sources are being developed," Russell said in a Feb. 1 statement.
Russell said it is important to recognize that oil and gas will provide more than 65% of the nation's energy for the foreseeable future and that hydrogen and other alternative fuel options depend on oil or gas for their most effective development.
In a separate Feb. 1 statement, National Petrochemical & Refiners Association Pres. Bob Slaughter said refiners agree with Bush that technological advances will point the way to the country's energy future.
"It is important, however, that mandates, price controls, and other command-and-control or punitive measures not be adopted as energy policy, and we do not believe that the president indicated any support for these options," Slaughter said.
"Unfortunately, some members of Congress are advocating imposition of a windfall profits tax, retroactive policy changes, and other punitive measures, despite the overwhelming evidence that these policies would do great harm to the nation's energy supply and security as we make the transition to a technology-driven future," he said.
Slaughter also pointed out that oil and gas will remain the primary US fuels for the foreseeable future while research and development of alternatives proceed.
"It follows that US energy policy must continue to target its efforts on increasing domestic production of petroleum products and natural gas supplies and the efficient usage of these fuels while maintaining environmental progress," he said.
IPAA's Russell also applauded Bush's call to develop the math, science, and engineering skills of the nation and to encourage more Americans to move into these professions. This reflects the problem confronting oil and gas producers as they cope with an aging workforce, he said.
"Part of the challenge to produce these technological professionals is a strong educational system. In turn, the role of research and development funding to universities is a key link to meeting that challenge," Russell said.
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