Former Obama security chief, ex-senators to lead energy security project

The four leaders of the BPC Energy Project, in a statement Wednesday, said the recent unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, the Japanese nuclear crisis and the BP oil spill together “demand a thorough reassessment of America’s energy security.”

“Without question, our economy — in fact our way of life — is highly dependent on access to stable, affordable supplies of energy,” they said. Their statement notes that while the energy crises of the 1970s prompted the U.S. to adopt useful changes that addressed the economy’s reliance on oil, many key energy goals remain unmet.

“Since that time, energy policy has stumbled, marked by uncertain goals and shifting priorities, an inability to measure the impact of our choices, and a stark lack of accountability across the government,” they said.

“New domestic natural gas supplies and heartening progress on clean energy technologies present great opportunities. However, our economy will continue to be threatened by uncontrollable events unless we seize this moment to begin a gradual yet decisive shift toward sustainable domestic energy resources,” their statement notes.

They call for a reevaluation of U.S. policy that “places energy security at the very center of energy policy.”

“Our nation does not want for a lack of ideas. What we suffer is a lack of discipline and follow-through. We believe a better articulation of our national goals, and clear mechanisms to measure our progress and clear accountability, are needed to improve our nation’s energy security,” the four added in their joint statement, which cites the need to “unify as a nation in a bipartisan manner around this new era in energy security.”

The project’s leaders have energy backgrounds.

Dorgan, who did not run for reelection last year, was a senior member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and also chaired the Appropriations Committee’s energy panel.

Jones — a retired Marine Corps general who served as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander — headed the Institute for 21st Century Energy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce before Obama tapped him as national security adviser, a role he left last November.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s new energy venture comes several months after an earlier energy project it housed — the National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP) — wound down in late 2010 after eight years.

Reilly, who led EPA under President George H.W. Bush, was a co-chairman of NCEP, which helped shape major legislation in 2005 and 2007 but failed to convince Congress to cap greenhouse gases.

He also co-chaired the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, which finished its work earlier this month after issuing a major report in January that called for a suite of federal and industry offshore drilling reforms.