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April 6, 2010 11:00 pm
Lawrence Summers, head of the White House National Economic Council, made a forceful case for energy reform on Tuesday and said passage of a bipartisan bill was a “crucial priority” for this year.
Sounding an optimistic tone about the economy, Mr Summers said that a comprehensive energy strategy was a key to increasing economic output and creating jobs as the US emerges from recession.
“We are at last moving in the right direction,” Mr Summers said in a speech at the Energy Administration Information conference in Washington. “As the recovery unfolds it becomes essential that we think about the renewal of the American economy.”
Mr Summers called for an “eclectic” approach to energy reform, adopting strategies from various political camps. He couched an energy overhaul as an essential tool for promoting innovation, economic growth and national security.
“It is essential that we address the consequences of our dependence on foreign oil,” he said.
Last month the Obama administration called for a federal cap-and-trade system that would result in a firm emissions cut by 2020 and announced it would allow expanded offshore oil drilling access. The move to allow drilling was seen as a concession to Republicans that might help to smooth the passage of a bipartisan bill.
Mr Summers said on Tuesday that energy reform would put people back to work at a time of excess capacity in the labour market, reduce uncertainty about oil prices and ultimately cut reliance on regulation.
“Certainty creates confidence and that is what moves the economy forward,” Mr Summers said.
Declining to speculate about future oil prices, Mr Summers would only say that he predicts that they will “fluctuate”.
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