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Posted on on October 1st, 2004
by Pincas Jawetz (

Washington, October 1, 2004

Mid September, the National Petroleum Council (NPC), a federal advisory committee to the Secretary of Energy, announced for Thursday September 30, 2004, a meeting with Secretary of Energy, the Honorable Spencer Abraham.

NPC is an industry group that since 1977 is operating with the sole purpose to advise, inform, and make recommendations to the US Secretary of Energy, at his request, on matters pertaining to oil and natural gas, or to the oil and gas industries. Prior to the creation of the US Department of Energy, from 1946 till 1977, the NPC had similar position versus the US Secretary of the Interior.  These are open meetings, nothing of the sort that known as by Vice-Presidential invitation only as in the case of the preparation of the draft energy policy by the Vice-President.

At the September 30, 2004 meeting, it was expected that the Secretary will unveil a new report with aspects of an energy policy. 

Somebody must have realized that the timing – September 30 – was awkward,  it was just the night before the first presidential debate, and indeed you do not throw oil on a fire. Why supply new material to the upcoming debate?  Debates are intended as non-issue events, why bring in a possible issue that could harm the Administration?  So, the event was cancelled September 24, 2004, and postponed until after the November elections. That was sound policy when it comes to the presentation of an Ersatz energy policy for the United States.

Furthermore, the September 30, Washington DC, NPC date was also awkward for a second reason – it conflicted with the American Petroleum Institute’s, Arlington VA, Conference on Oil and Gas Voluntary Actions to Address Climate Change.  Does the Administration not back the industry’s voluntary actions as an Ersatz to policy in general?  Why an NPC meeting before being handed officially also the document from the Arlington meeting? Somebody goofed indeed !

(This article was first posted on

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