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Policy Statement 489 - Energy Policy

 

Approved by the Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee on March 14, 2019
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on April 28, 2019
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2019

Policy

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports a national energy policy that anticipates future energy needs and promotes a balanced national energy portfolio, including the development of clean and renewable energy sources while encouraging energy conservation and efficiency. The policy should:

  • Promote strong and continuing U.S. funding and commitment to clean energy research;
  • Validate and implement clean and efficient energy sources to meet the nation's energy demands by relying on effective use of domestic natural resources;
  • Reduce the environmental impacts and long-term management responsibilities including waste products associated with energy sources;
  • Expand domestic development for renewable energy sources;
  • Provide incentives to establish a market for cleaner energy production;
  • Support the maintenance and development of infrastructure for energy operation; and
  • Provide a balanced and ongoing research and development (R&D) program for all sources of domestic energy production that encompasses both government and private industry and supports a U.S. clean energy supply.

Issue

Population growth and economic development continue to create demands for increased energy.

Although fossil fuels-coal and natural gas-are decreasing in use, they still account for the majority of fuel used for energy generation in the United States. These fuel sources have been economical, and technologies exist to reduce their carbon output, but new fossil fuel production and the environmental impacts from their combustion are the source of ever-expanding regulations. Other energy sources, such as hydropower, nuclear, wind and solar, do not emit airborne pollutants but are associated with other types of environmental impacts. 

ASCE recognizes the importance of a diverse energy portfolio. Research to improve traditional non-renewable sources and development of renewable energy sources can yield a reduced environmental impact and a more economical and reliable source of energy for the future.

Rationale

ASCE realizes the need for continued economical, reliable, and environmentally responsible energy development and production in the United States. This is critical to industrial and commercial expansion, economic growth and stability, and enhanced energy security. The planning and development of energy sources in a responsible manner has long been a role of civil engineers.  A national energy policy that prioritizes short- and long-term needs and better aligns funding mechanisms and sustainable energy systems is needed.

The prudent management of our national energy resources and the timely development of new energy technologies are public policy issues of concern to ASCE.  While fossil fuels are an abundant source of energy; fossil fuel power plants emit hundreds of millions of tons of pollutants into the atmosphere each year. Worldwide, fossil fuel plants produce a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. There is mounting evidence that greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change.

ASCE Policy Statement 489
First Approved in 2001


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