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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 12/21/2010

National Commission on Energy Policy shuts down

By Juliet Eilperin

In yet another sign of how the drive for sweeping energy reform is fizzling, the Bipartisan Policy Center announced Tuesday that it is shutting down its National Commission on Energy Policy.

The commission, co-chaired by former Environmental Protection Agency administrator William K. Reilly and Exelon Corp. Chairman and CEO John W. Rowe, pushed for a cap-and-trade system to curb greenhouse gases linked to global warming, among other priorities.

"We decided it was time to change our infrastructure to recognize the changing political climate," said Bipartisan Policy Center president Jason S. Grumet in an interview, who noted that some people were surprised by the move. "It's hard to shut something down in Washington."

Grumet added that he and other top officials at the think tank have talked to both current and retiring members of Congress about creating a new energy project, and he expected several retiring lawmakers would participate in the chance to "design something new" aimed at passing energy legislation over the next two years.

The Bipartisan Policy Center will continue to operate a few energy projects in house, including ones focused on natural gas, climate engineering, financing for new energy projects and the future of the power sector.

Rowe said the commission "labored mightily to develop market based approaches to deal with energy and climate issues. Its work was important even if not all of its recommendations carried the day."

By Juliet Eilperin  | December 21, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
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