Bodman: Energy Security More Crucial Than Ever

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman
Calling energy security a crucial part of President Bush's agenda, United States Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman says a stable energy supply isn't a given anymore. As Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports, the secretary's comments came at the annual CERA Conference here this week.

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Calling energy security both an economic and national security issue, Bodman made it clear that protecting the availability of energy supplies is a huge concern.

"Whether or not we have access to a secure, clean, affordable supply of energy is directly related to whether or not our economy will grow and our people will prosper, whether or not our industries will operate efficiently, whether or not our earth's climate will worsen or improve and perhaps more importantly, whether or not our people will be safe and secure."

Bodman says tighter supplies and difficulty accessing some of the world's largest oil fields is creating what could turn the issue of energy security into one of President Bush's most pressing issues.

"The scale and scope of this challenge threatens our long-term security and that threat only promises to grow more pressing over time as traditional sources of energy become more stretched and demand continues to grow. In my view and in the president's view, such a determination compels us to act now."

The secretary says diversity in the available supply and increased production would alleviate some of the concern, and continued energy innovation, including more dependence on alternative fuels and energy sources, could solve part of the problem.

"It is time for the world community to embrace a new paradigm of energy security, one that acknowledges that the current level of energy insecurity in the world poses an unacceptable risk to our economies and our security"

Bodman, without specifically naming countries, warned against the nationalization of energy supplies that makes it difficult for foreign investors to access oil reservoirs, saying the moves could backfire.

"Moves to restrict foreign investment and increase the reach of state-run energy industries will limit access to capital and to the expertise needed to unlock new resources. While this type of behavior may garner some short-term advantage, in the long run it deprives those very countries of productivity and prosperity."

In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has moved to nationalize the nation's oil supplies, which has forced foreign oil companies to either renegotiate current deals with the government or risk losing their investments.

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...