Report from America: More from Hot Springs

By August 5, 2005Report from America

Report from AmericaJust a fascinating conference, some really smart and interesting people, panels and presentations. Some speakers, like Ted Fishman, were provided by Leading Authorities, the premiere speaker’s bureau in Washington. They have a pretty vast stable of folks, who almost never seem to disappoint.

Yesterday there was an energy panel made up of members of the Council of Manufacturing Associations and one Energy Department official. Skip Bowman of the Nuclear Energy Institute, a former 4-star Admiral (read: a pretty smart guy), noted, “Investment capital flows away from uncertainty.” It was such a great line, reminding us all — as John Engler has said — that the uncertainty created by policy makers’ action (or more often, inaction) makes investment capital flow elsewhere. Most on the panel applauded passage of the energy bill. Some interesting stuff that came out of this panel:

— Jack Gerard, new President of the American Chemistry Council said that of 120 chemical plants being built around the world, only one is being built in the US. The #1 factor in locating a chemical plant is its proximity to reliable and affordable natural gas. Ours, remember, is the most expensive in the world.

— US coal reserves are equal (in BTU’s) to the world’s petroleum reserves.

— Said American Petroleum Institute President Red Caveney, “Energy is a key part of keeping jobs here and growing industry.” Amen.

— The country most reliant on nuclear energy is those good ol’ greenies, the French! They get 80% of their energy from nuclear power, as opposed to about 20% in the US. (Wonder what they do with their nuclear waste….?)

— We are the only country in the world with such great restrictions on access to its own natural resources.

In the end, we were reminded yet again that the old laws of supply and demand still apply, now more than ever. Here’s a link to the Energy Department’s Energy Efficiency website.