Energy Policy Needs Domestic Focus

Article excerpt

America's national energy policy must not be based on cheap imported foreign oil, Gov. Frank Keating stressed Monday to the mid- year meeting of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

Entitled "Moving Toward A National Energy Policy," the compact is conducting its 1997 mid-year meeting at Oklahoma City's Marriott Hotel. Keating serves as 1997 chairman of the 36-member state organization. Member states produce about 99 percent of the nation's onshore oil and natural gas.

"Our state has become what it is today as a result of the petroleum industry," the governor said. "We in Oklahoma meet on a yearly basis to work on incentives (to encourage drilling and production). We are not going to depreciate or deprive ourselves of our rich natural resources." From an environmental viewpoint, Keating said the water in Oklahoma is pristine today because the state has managed to achieve the proper marriage between the regulators and tax people and the oil and gas industry. These same policies have been carried forward by the compact since its was established 62 years ago, the governor said. He said that in 1995 the governors of the producing states, working through the commission, committed to developing a national energy policy on domestic oil and natural gas. The framework for the policy was developed by the governors and reviewed by the 36 IOGCC member states. As a result, a four-pronged agenda is being advanced by governors of both parties and leaders of the energy industry," Keating said. "Implementing and communicating the states' work on the National Oil and Gas Policy has been the focus of my term as chairman," Keating said. "The focus of the remainder of my chairmanship will be incremental actions that support the framework of the National Oil and Gas Policy," the governor said. "Actions are planned for both the state and federal levels as well as the challenge of communicating effectively to the public." IOGCC has set four policy elements. The first policy element is to determine the true consequences to the American public of imported oil Extensive research has been conducted on this topic to unravel the hidden costs and consequences of imported oil, with some estimates ranging up to $100 per barrel. A congressional research fellow has been appointed to supervise the study. "As research progressed, it became apparent that there are many consequences in addition to the hard-dollar costs," Keating said. For example, he said, the costs of Desert Storm need to be factored in to the equation of developing sources of foreign oil. Policy element two is to promote the expansion of research to recover domestic oil and gas resources. …