HOUSTON—As Congress slogged through a mishmash of mostly political messaging votes on energy and environmental policies, a top industry executive warned that America’s lack of an energy policy could compel global companies to invest elsewhere.
“We need a smart, prudent national framework and proactive energy policy that uses the collective wealth of this country,” Dow Chemical CEO and President Andrew Liveris said on Thursday at a major energy conference here. “That’s hard to do in two-, four-, and six-year election cycles. But we have to do it.”
The Senate voted on Thursday on five disparate measures that affect different parts of the U.S. energy landscape. All the measures except one failed. The one successful vote was on bipartisan legislation requiring that 80 percent of the fines that oil giant BP pays in response to its 2010 spill go into restoration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. The measures that failed include proposals delaying mercury rules for industrial boilers, expanding offshore oil and gas drilling, and mandating approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
Liveris, who leads one of the world’s biggest chemical companies and is based in Michigan, said inaction on energy issues by the U.S. government will drive investments away.
“We will go to a country that will have a more robust and comprehensive energy policy,” he said during a speech to hundreds of the world’s top energy executives at the IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates annual conference. “Saudia Arabia understands that. China understands. Singapore understands that. Germany understands. Want me to keep going?” Liveris rhetorically asked. “There have been 45 countries I’ve visited that understand. The United States understands but it has not been able to implement it.”