Policy, Industry, Labor Leaders Release Bipartisan Energy Plan


March 5, 2013


It’s not easy finding common ground in Washington, D.C., these days. Getting Democrats and Republicans – not to mention business and labor – to agree on anything seems an impossible challenge.

But a new report issued Feb. 27 by the Bipartisan Policy Center shows that on at least one issue – America’s energy future – genuine bipartisanship isn’t dead.

The report –America’s Energy Resurgence– offers numerous policy recommendations to advance energy independence, encourage research and innovation and support investment in a wide array of energy sources.

The Bipartisan Policy Center is a nonprofit think tank formed in 2007 by former Senate majority leaders from both parties: Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell.

The 157-page report is a product of the BPC’s Energy Project Board – comprised of industry, labor, government and scientific leaders.

Says former North Dakota Sen. Bryon Dorgan, who co-chairs the Energy Project:

Our country is in a very different position in terms of energy supply than it was just a few years ago, and my home state’s economy is flourishing as a result. We must use this era of energy abundance as the ideal time for driving a diversity of policies that can serve as a buffer in more difficult times.

Of particular interest to IBEW members are the report’s recommendations on work force development. International President Edwin Hill is a member of the Energy Project. He says:

We are entering a new era in energy policy. The rapid growth of the domestic oil and natural gas industry, in addition to the development of renewables like wind and solar, require a skilled energy work force. But the graying of the baby boomers means policy makers and industry leaders must take the job of recruiting and training a new generation of workers seriously to continue our energy resurgence.

As the report says:

The industry will need an unprecedented number of skilled workers to design, construct and operate the next generation of energy-sector infrastructure.

It recommends Congress work with the departments of Energy and Labor to evaluate state and regional training needs and encourage collaboration among industry stakeholders to help develop worker training programs.

Click here to read a summary.