The NEPI plan is officially focused on prosperity and energy security, but it contains heavy doses of environmental concerns. Clearly, cutting pollutants is as important to the institute as importing less oil from the Middle East. That's OK with us as long as federal energy policy balances the needs of the environment with the needs of consumers and business and industry. Increasing consumption of natural gas for transportation and power generation would help the environment and the Oklahoma economy — not to mention state revenues.
NEPI is selling its plan as one emphasizing market solutions rather than Washington mandates. It stresses “goals” rather than diktats. This is the right approach and far less intrusive than any energy policy coming from environmental activists.
A reasoned approach to energy policy can't overlook the effects of carbon consumption on the environment, just as a reasoned approach to environmental policy can't overlook the effects of regulation on the economy. Energy efficiency not only helps the environment but also keeps more money in the wallets of consumers. And NEPI's plan has a big emphasis on cutting oil consumption through efficiency as well as switching the fuel of choice for trucking away from diesel.
Still, that “oil security dividend” thing, although lacking the politically poisonous “cap and trade” moniker, will be a tough sell. On the road to North American energy security, higher taxes may not make the map.