NAAG President Urges Attorneys General To Weigh Science And Industry During National Energy Summit

May 2008

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As the debate over global climate change heats up and gas prices reach record highs, National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) President and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden urged state Attorneys General earlier this month to accurately balance the facts with the law in their roles as the chief legal advisors in their states and jurisdictions.

Through his 2008 NAAG Presidential Initiative on Energy held May 5-7 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, President Wasden hosted 12 state Attorneys General and more than 100 of the nation’s top energy industry representatives, federal regulators, environmentalists and other advocacy groups to discuss growing consumer concerns, demands on state resources and uncertainty with regard to climate predictability.

The two-day meeting addressed the complex mix of competing values that dominate every part of the energy field: reliability, resource use, emissions, sustainability and long-term environmental impact.

President Wasden explained that Attorneys General across the country must begin to consider how to advise governors, legislators and state agencies on the issues of energy regulation, transfer and use. Nationwide, state and federal officials are grappling with complex legal questions like: How much can our nation rely on alternative forms of energy? Has the time come to revisit nuclear energy? How can we best balance the demand for energy with the impact of increasing production on our environment?

“During this summit, my goal was to provide Attorneys General with sufficient information to deliver informed advice to their clients with regard to energy questions and issues,” President Wasden said. “Information shared must rise above the level of rhetoric with regard to ‘right or wrong’ energy choices, and instead focus on finding the “best” solutions for our respective states and clients.”

“We must seek factual information and fair analysis of the law,” President Wasden said. “This forum was ideal for bringing together people whose knowledge can really deepen our understanding and allow us to serve our clients in the best possible way.”

The summit included a number of experts and industry representatives, including Shell Oil Company President John Hofmeister, who served as keynote speaker for the event.

Hofmeister fielded questions from Attorneys General and their staffs following his remarks, in which he offered a broad array of solutions for addressing the nation's energy needs, including alternative fuels and carbon caps to address global warming as well as increased domestic oil drilling.

Other topics discussed included: nuclear energy; emissions and their influence on state energy solutions; the development of new energy sources; global climate change and the law; regulation and deregulation of energy markets; current and future energy demands; energy delivery methods; and, alternative fuels.

President Wasden continues the 2008 Presidential Initiative on Energy during NAAG’s 2008 summer meeting, which will be held June 17-20 in Providence, Rhode Island. Robert Bryce, author of Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of “Energy Independence,” is scheduled to speak with Attorneys General on June 18. In addition, President Wasden has convened a panel of experts to continue discussions regarding oil and gas issues.

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