BP incident a prompt to develop better energy legislation, ANCEP executive says

James
James McLeod
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Oil and Gas

The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico hung over this week's NOIA conference like a black cloud, but Jason Grumet presented it as a potential opportunity.

Grumet, the executive director of the American National Commission on Energy Policy, said Thursday that it could be the "smack upside the head" towards meaningful energy legislation.

Jason Grumet, executive director of the United States National Commission on Energy Policy, speaks at Thursday morning's panel discussion on the "Future of the North American Energy Industry" at the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries co

The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico hung over this week's NOIA conference like a black cloud, but Jason Grumet presented it as a potential opportunity.

Grumet, the executive director of the American National Commission on Energy Policy, said Thursday that it could be the "smack upside the head" towards meaningful energy legislation.

He was speaking at the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil Industry Association (NOIA) conference in St. John's.

Before working at the bipartisan Commission, Grumet was an energy adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama during his campaign.

Grumet painted a picture of a political "low point" in the united states, where legislators are unable to solve the country's problems.

On energy policy, he said climate change has been a wedge that has prevented any move forward.

Despite that deadlock, there's very little doubt the government will pass some sort of energy legislation.

The question Grumet posed, is whether the legislation will target specific issues that led to the BP spill, or whether it'll be more wide-ranging.

Both, he said, are needed.

On the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, there's accusations BP was a rogue player that didn't follow accepted safety practices, so those regulations will likely be tightened up.

Moreover, with more and more deepwater drilling, Grumet said the technology for stopping and cleaning up potential spills needs to improve.

But he also said Obama may push towards higher efficiency standards for cars and buildings, and more investment in research and development.

The real question, Grumet said, is whether the spill will intensify partisan divisions, or allow politicians to move past them.

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Organizations: BP, NOIA, American National Commission on Energy Policy Newfoundland and Labrador Oil Industry Association

Geographic location: Gulf of Mexico, St. John's, U.S.

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