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Columbia Energy Exchange

U.S. Energy Policy Then and Now


Phil Sharp

U.S. energy policy has gone through many twists and turns over the past 40 years, as the nation transitioned from gasoline lines to an abundance of oil, natural gas and renewable energy. No one has been more involved in shaping and analyzing energy policy than Phil Sharp, having spent 20 years as one of the leading lawmakers on the topic and the last 11 as the President of Resources for the Future, Washington D.C.’s oldest think tank devoted exclusively to analysis of energy and the environment. Sharp recently joined the Center on Global Energy Policy as a Fellow.

On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks with Sharp about his time as a lawmaker in D.C., when Congress worked on a bipartisan basis to enact policies addressing concerns over the production of energy and how we consume it. During the conversation Sharp recalls some of the biggest battles over energy policy on Capitol Hill, the dramatic changes in U.S. energy fortunes, and what we can learn from these experiences, including:

  • The oil shortages of the 1970s, and how they drove the development of legislation;
  • The politics of energy, and how regions, more than party identify, influenced votes;
  • His close relationship with former Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), one of the most powerful figures in energy policy; and
  • How the landscape for energy has changed in the U.S., with less concern over supply and more focus on the environment.
  • And more.

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