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Shaping U.S. Energy Policy For an Era of Energy Abundance


Subcommittee Chairman Whitfield, Ranking Member Rush, distinguished members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today to examine the Energy Policy Conservation Act of 1975 in an era of energy transition. - Deborah Gordan

I am the director of the Energy and Climate program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a non-partisan think tank. I began my career with Chevron as a chemical engineer and then spent over two decades researching transport energy policy at Yale University, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and for a wide array of non-profit, public, and private sector clients. I have authored several books and numerous reports on transportation, oil, and climate policymaking.



In my remarks today, I will make three key points: the need to understand the changing conditions influencing today’s crude oil market; the need for better information about the chemical characteristics, quality, and operational specifications of U.S. oils; and the need to deal with the environmental consequences from an unconditional lifting of the oil export ban.


The bottom line is that oils are changing. A more complex array of hydrocarbon resources is replacing conventional oils. The truth is that precious little is known about these new resources. The nation needs reliable, consistent, detailed, open-source data about the composition and operational elements of U.S. oils. Significant information gaps have accompanied the nation’s increase in oil production, impeding sound decision making. Public and private stakeholders need to fully understand the environmental impacts inherent to different oils. The best way to position America for success in an era of energy abundance is to generate the information necessary to make wise decisions among the many oil options. Without this information, the debate over lifting the ban on U.S. crude oil exports is taking place in a context in which policymakers are essentially operating blindly.


The Energy Policy Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA) can serve as a template for addressing some of the shortcomings that exist today as America struggles to manage the economic, geopolitical, and climate impacts of its new bounty of oils.


Read the full text.


See our infographic on how global oils are becoming increasingly complex.


See some examples of oil data that is not consistently or publicly available.

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