SOURCE: Council on Competitiveness

September 09, 2008 10:59 ET

Council on Competitiveness Challenges Next President to Execute 100-Day Energy Action Plan for America

Chief Executives From Leading U.S. Companies, Universities, Labor Organizations and National Laboratories Identify Top Priorities for Immediate Presidential Action in the First 100 Days of the Next Administration

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - September 9, 2008) - Today, the Council on Competitiveness called on the next president of the United States to put the full weight of his office behind the Council's 100-Day Energy Action Plan.

The Council's roadmap for a sustainable energy future represents more than a year of collaboration by over 200 private sector leaders, including CEOs, university presidents, organized labor leaders, national laboratory directors, and energy experts.

What sets the Council's Energy Plan apart from other plans is the emphasis on supply and demand driven solutions. The plan reflects the shared perspective of the nation's chief executives who face the challenges of global competition; university presidents who will educate the next generation of innovators; and labor leaders who strive to retain and create quality domestic jobs and strengthen consumer protections. The Council plan presents concrete action steps, not just aspirations. The Council has built a coalition of stakeholders and developed a policy framework that will provide the new Administration and Congress with the necessary foundation to quickly advance a comprehensive energy agenda.

The Council identified six critical drivers to ensure energy security and sustainability, while steering clear of higher gas prices, fuel rationing and a national inability to compete in the global market due to high energy costs:

--  Urge the President to issue an executive order mandating that the
    Federal Government purchase products and services to meet the highest
    energy technology and efficiency standards.
--  Create a $200 billon national "clean energy" bank to provide debt
    financing and drive private investment in the development of sustainable
    energy solutions and support infrastructure.
--  Knit the current patchwork of regulations and oversight into a
    seamlessly connected electrical power highway that is technologically
    capable of allowing both on and off ramps for all energy sources thereby
    securing the national grid while strengthening consumer and worker
--  Develop and utilize all sources of energy in America in a sustainable
    way -- including oil, gas, coal, nuclear, laser fission fusion, renewable
    and other advanced energy technologies -- and create incentives to discover
    and deploy new sources of clean energy.
--  Fill the workforce pipeline to win the clean energy race with a new
    generation of skilled talent, including science and technology researchers,
    front-line workers, and game-changing innovators.
--  Increase investment in research and development, and market
    commercialization to deliver secure and sustainable energy.

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., Vice Chair of the Council and President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, presented the 100-Day Energy Action Plan in a speech at the National Press Club. The Council's "Energy Security, Innovation and Sustainability (ESIS) Initiative" is led by Dr. Jackson and her fellow co-chairs, Jim Owens, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc.; and D. Michael Langford, National President of the Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO. Mr. Langford and Deborah L. Wince-Smith, President of the Council on Competitiveness, joined Dr. Jackson at the National Press Club for the release.

"We are a great nation. We have immense initiative, strong financial capacity, exceptional talent, and a shared history of uniting around difficult and complex challenges," said Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. "Energy security is the greatest challenge and the greatest opportunity of our time. A national call to action will ignite our collective imagination, spark a new era of innovation, stimulate our economy, open new markets, unleash our national potential, and enhance our economic and national security. But, we must begin. The next President must send a clear signal -- in the first 100 days -- that will move us from rhetoric to reality."

"For many industries, a dramatic change in the cost of energy will have a profound impact on business. As we structure energy policy for the United States, we need to ensure that we facilitate competitiveness in our core and basic industries," said Jim Owens, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc.

"There is a growing global competition for scientific, engineering and technical talent, but the United States is producing fewer graduates with energy-related degrees. The United States must have an energy plan that will attract, train, and retrain the best and brightest from around the world," said D. Michael Langford, National President of the Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO.

"The energy challenge cannot be met with a piecemeal plan, but rather a comprehensive strategy that brings the private sector into the equation. The next president must tackle energy security and sustainability with solutions that provide affordable energy to businesses and consumers, create domestic jobs, and protect our environment," said Deborah L. Wince-Smith, president of the Council on Competitiveness.

The ESIS Initiative, which was called for in the Council's 2004 seminal report "Innovate America," is led by a Steering Committee comprised of 41 chief executives from U.S. industry, academia, organized labor, and government laboratories and has benefited from the guidance of more than 200 executive-level energy experts.

ABOUT THE COUNCIL ON COMPETITIVENESS -- The Council on Competitiveness is the only group of corporate CEOs, university presidents and labor leaders committed to the future prosperity of all Americans and enhanced U.S. competitiveness in the global economy through the creation of high-value economic activity in the United States.

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