White House Launches Sweeping Review of Energy Policies

President Obama takes questions from the media in the East Room of the White House on June 29, 2011.
National Journal
Clare Foran
Jan. 9, 2014, 11:31 a.m.

Pres­id­ent Obama has set in mo­tion long-stand­ing plans to carry out a wide-ran­ging ini­ti­at­ive to sur­vey the Amer­ic­an en­ergy land­scape and en­sure that do­mest­ic en­ergy-se­cur­ity ob­ject­ives align with cur­rent en­ergy policy.

The pres­id­ent signed a memor­andum on Thursday form­ally launch­ing the Quad­ren­ni­al En­ergy Re­view, a sur­vey of U.S. en­ergy pro­duc­tion, in­fra­struc­ture, and trans­port set to be com­pleted by an in­ter­agency task force. The task force will be led by high-rank­ing of­fi­cials from the White House Do­mest­ic Policy Coun­cil and the Of­fice of Sci­ence and Tech­no­logy Policy. The De­part­ment of En­ergy will play a key role in sup­port­ing the task force’s work.

The pres­id­ent first out­lined his plans to cre­ate a QER in a speech de­livered at Geor­getown Uni­versity last June, when he un­veiled his cli­mate ac­tion plan, high­light­ing en­ergy and en­vir­on­ment policy pri­or­it­ies for his second-term agenda.

The first QER, to be com­pleted in one year, will identi­fy ways the ad­min­is­tra­tion can im­prove in­fra­struc­ture and mit­ig­ate risks in­volved in en­ergy trans­port and de­liv­ery, an is­sue that has taken on in­creas­ing sig­ni­fic­ance in the wake of sev­er­al re­cent ac­ci­dents in­volving trains car­ry­ing crude oil. The re­port will also make re­com­mend­a­tions for elec­tric-grid mod­ern­iz­a­tion and im­prove­ments to the vast net­work of pipelines used to trans­port oil and nat­ur­al gas across the coun­try.

Ex­ec­ut­ive-branch of­fi­cials her­al­ded the an­nounce­ment as a first step to­wards cre­at­ing a blue­print for strength­en­ing do­mest­ic en­ergy pro­duc­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to a White House blog post au­thored by John Hold­ren, dir­ect­or of the White House Of­fice of Sci­ence and Tech­no­logy Policy; Cecil­ia Mun­oz, dir­ect­or of the White House Do­mest­ic Policy Coun­cil; and En­ergy Sec­ret­ary Ern­est Mon­iz: “Over four years, suc­cess­ive in­stall­ments of the QER will provide a com­pre­hens­ive set of re­com­mend­a­tions on how best to trans­form Amer­ica’s en­ergy pro­duc­tion, de­liv­ery, and con­sump­tion sys­tems to meet the chal­lenges of the 21st cen­tury. The QER will identi­fy im­port­ant op­por­tun­it­ies to mod­ern­ize, ex­pand, re­place, or trans­form our en­ergy in­fra­struc­ture sys­tem so that it bet­ter ac­com­mod­ates changes in en­ergy sup­ply, in­teg­rates cut­ting-edge in­form­a­tion and se­cur­ity tech­no­lo­gies, and meets in­creas­ing de­mand for new con­sumer ser­vices.”

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