NCAC Council Member and Managing Director of the Energy Future Coalition Institute
Affiliation and years of experience in energy and/or environment:
My first job in energy started in January, 1971, as the Assistant General Manager of the American Public Gas Association, helping argue in favor of Federal Power Commission regulations that would cap the wellhead ceiling price for natural gas at 18 cents per Mcf throughout the southern Louisiana Gulf Coast area. Much has changed since then, including the fact that today no one could credibly advocate such a policy. My current role as Managing Director of the Energy Future Coalition, a non-profit broad-based coalition trying to promote working solutions to energy policy dilemmas, follows the most recent of fourteen total years on the Hill (1972-1981, 2007-2011) as committee staff and as an energy specialist with the Congressional Research Service. I also spent twenty years practicing energy law on natural gas and efficiency matters before state and federal regulators (1987-2006), and four years with the International Energy Agency in Paris (1982-1985).
Any particular achievement/interest in energy/environment you would like to mention?
I would mention here: a report to the Congressional Research Service of the U.S. Library of Congress on "Promoting Changes in Relative Fossil Fuel Prices to Achieve Strategic Energy Goals."; a series of 3 reports to the George C. Marshall Institute involving policy mechanisms to deal with climate change; chapters in two books published by LMI on climate change; and author contribution to 2008 Defense Science Board report on the Department of Defense energy strategy.
I think the highlight of my career was "holding the pen" as Senior Counsel to Chairman Dingell of the House Energy and Commerce Committee for the efficiency and smart grid provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and then serving Chairman Waxman in the next Congress as a number of those provisions were funded, with positive effect, in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
In your opinion, what are important issues facing the energy industry nowadays?
The central issue, in my view, is the conflict between the new abundance of fossil fuels from formerly marginal resources that advancing technology has made not only possible but economically compelling, on one hand, with the scientific consensus that producing and using those fuels would rapidly and irrevocably alter the global climate with catastrophic effects, on the other. Only altering the economics of energy markets, either by making renewable energy and efficiency even more compelling economically, or by effectively pricing greenhouse-gas externalities on a global basis, seems likely to keep a sustainable world for our grandchildren.
How long have you been a member of NCAC? Any particular NCAC memory you would like to share with us?
I believe I started attending NCAC meetings in the late 1970s and have been an active member since returning from IEA in 1985, with a number of years on the Council and one as President. I have also served as pro-bono General Counsel to both the IAEE since 1989 and the USAEE since its founding. Of the many energy-oriented groups offering member services in Washington, I think NCAC offers the lowest net cost, the best multi-sector networking, the widest exposure to contrasting opinions in an analytical setting, and the greatest variety of presentations on timely energy topics. In these the vital role of economics is always recognized, but you don't have to be a licensed economist to understand and benefit. I've found that even a lawyer can do it.