Trent Lott and Byron Dorgan: Two parties can come together on energy policy

September 11, 2012

As each presidential campaign attempts to use energy as a wedge issue, it’s worth noting that both candidates and parties rely on an “all of the above” approach to energy policy, even if they define it somewhat differently. In general, the GOP approach puts emphasis on fully developing coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear, and supports renewable energy primarily through private-sector investments, not government support. The Democrats’ approach includes a greater emphasis on energy efficiency and government-supported clean investments, along with developing fossil fuels and nuclear energy. So while the media and campaigns themselves highlight differences, broad areas of agreement exist as well.

Next year, a bipartisan package could include further actions to assure long-term responsible development of our on- and offshore oil and natural gas resources, efforts to improve energy efficiency, development of alternative fuels to add diversity in the transportation sector, and support for long-term energy R&D. By relying more on our abundant domestic supplies, using energy more wisely, and investing in future breakthroughs, we can improve our economy and national security, reduce costs for consumer and businesses, and make America more globally competitive. Both parties have an opportunity to act on this agenda after the election.

Former senators Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) co-chair the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Strategic Energy Policy Initiative.

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