Past Conference

U.S. Energy Security: Traditional and Emerging Challenges

Jan 28, 2002

About the Event

U.S. Energy Security: Traditional and Emerging Challenges                                               January 28, 2002

An RFF Symposium
RFF Conference Center

Spikes in gasoline prices, continued instability in the Middle East, and the terrorist attacks of September 11 have revived debate about the need for energy policy to strengthen U.S. national security. Decision-makers are once again considering whether the U.S. is too dependent on imported oil, and how best to protect the economies of the industrialized world from potential oil price shocks. Increased volatility of gasoline and electricity prices and product shortages in regional markets have also sparked fears that the energy infrastructure is too brittle to provide reliable supplies of energy to fuel our economy - a weakness further exacerbated by the prospect that the infrastructure itself could be a potential terrorist target.

On January 28, 2002, Resources for the Future (RFF) brought together leading experts from the policy, business, environmental, and academic communities as well as the media to discuss traditional and emerging challenges to U.S. energy security. Two expert panels and audience participants offered their insights on a variety of energy security issues:

  • To what extent is our dependence on foreign oil a threat to national security? Should we reduce that dependence? And if so, how?
  • What emphasis should we place on new energy development and energy conservation in enhancing our national security?
  • Is there a national security rationale for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other environmentally sensitive areas?
  • How vulnerable is the U.S. economy to potential oil price shocks?
  • What is the best way to handle price volatility and shortages in regional domestic energy markets?
  • How vulnerable is our energy infrastructure? What can we do to reduce the prospect for accidental or deliberate supply disruptions?
  • What policies will make our energy systems more reliable and ensure critical energy infrastructure is protected?
  • How could new technologies and new energy sources affect reliability?
  • Are current environmental policies impinging on energy reliability?

Panelists and participants assessed the nature of these traditional and emerging energy security threats and the implications of differing policy responses to these threats. A working lunch session featured a dialogue between senior staff from both sides of the aisle on the political dimensions of energy security policies.


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Paul R. Portney Link to Video
President and Senior Fellow
Resources for the Future
Web Bio

Link to Paul Portney's Remarks

Panel I: Oil Supply -- Domestic and International

Paul Leibry Link to Video
Manager, Fuels Supplies Modeling and Research, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Bio | Speaker Notes: Oil Use and U.S. Energy Security:
Problems and Policy Responses

Link to Paul Leiby's remarks

Robert Weiner Link to Video
Associate Professor of International Business, George Washington University
Bio | Speaker Notes

Link to Robert Weiner's remarks

Mine Yücel Link to Video
Assistant Vice President, Research Department, Dallas Federal Reserve Bank
Bio | Speaker Notes: Oil Price Shocks and the Economy

Link to Mine Yucel's remarks

Michael Toman Link to Video
Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future
Bio | Speaker Notes:International Oil Security:
Bringing the Pieces Together

Link to Michael Toman's remarks


Buffet Lunch and Dialogue

Shirley Neff  Link to Video
Senior Economist, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Link to Shirley Neff's remarks


Panel II: Domestic Energy Reliability and Volatility


Eric Hirst Link to Video
Bio | Speaker Notes: Bulk-Power Reliability and Competitive Electricity Markets

Link to Eric Hirst's remarks

Lou Leffler Link to Video
Project Manager, North American Electric Reliability Council
Bio | Speaker Notes:Critical Infrastructure Protection

Link to Lou Leffler's remarks


  • Howard K. Gruenspecht, Resident Scholar
  • Robert Weiner, Professor of International Business and International Affairs, and Chair, Department of International Business, George Washington University
  • Michael A. Toman, Senior Fellow