White House energy aide hopes for ‘reset button’ with Congress

In the near term, the White House is pressing Congress to extend the soon-to-expire production tax credit for wind energy projects.

More broadly, Zichal said the administration’s goals include long-term policy to avoid “boom and bust” cycles in green energy, and the right regulatory frameworks to ensure natural gas production proceeds safely and responsibly.

She also said investments on transmission and infrastructure, and commitment to basic energy R&D, are priorities.

“After all, it was years of federal research dollars that helped develop the technology that is now allowing us to take advantage of our natural gas resources,” she noted. Natural gas production in the U.S. is currently at record highs.

“All of those policies have been and continue to be priorities of the Obama administration. We have got a lot more work to do but I think it is fair to say we have come a long way,” said Zichal, who is deputy assistant to the president for energy and climate change.

Zichal’s hope for a “reset” follows recent years that have been heavy on collisions between the Obama administration and GOP lawmakers over energy.

Little legislation has advanced, but there have been battles over green energy loans and drilling policy that included GOP subpoenas for documents.

White House green energy initiatives, including President Obama’s plan for a national “clean energy standard,” have sputtered.

Democrats, meanwhile, have parried House GOP bills to thwart various environmental rules and require an expansion of oil-and-gas leasing that’s far more aggressive than Obama supports.

But White House officials have touted first-term steps including the major boost in auto mileage standards and support for green energy projects in the 2009 stimulus package, which they call a major factor behind renewable generation growth.