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Secretary Abraham Names Energy Policy the Most Daunting Challenge of 21st Century


Speaking at Energy Conference Sponsored by Pepper Hamilton LLP and The Abraham Group LLC

NOTE TO REPORTERS: For a full list of speakers or for interviews, contact Polly Coxe

WASHINGTON, DC (May 1, 2007) – Former U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham called energy policy the most daunting challenge facing America in the 21st century at a recent conference jointly sponsored by Pepper Hamilton LLP, a multi-practice law firm, and The Abraham Group LLC, an international strategic consulting firm founded by the Secretary.

According to Abraham, “Meeting our energy security objectives will be a major factor in shaping U.S. economic and foreign policy for the next 20 years.”

Abraham sees two major trends emerging in the area of energy policy: a renewed focus on supporting advancements in energy technology and research, and the creation of incentives that will advance energy efficiency and the development of alternative fuels.

Pepper Hamilton and the Abraham Group formed a strategic alliance in 2006 to provide a comprehensive range of legal and business consulting services. Their conference, “Energy and Environmental Policy Outlook: Business Implications and Investment Opportunities,” brought together leaders from business and government to discuss energy and environmental legislation, energy investments and project finance, federal and state regulatory activity and cross-border implications, and geopolitical considerations.

Abraham was joined in speaking at the conference by more than 25 energy experts, including the Honorable Dirk Kempthorne, U.S. Secretary of the Interior; Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Joseph T. Kelliher, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and Vincent DeVito, a lawyer with Pepper Hamilton and former acting Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy and International Affairs.

Dr. Richard L. Sandor, Chairman and Founder of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), was represented on the conference’s lead-off panel by Dr. William M. Ferretti, Vice President and Special Assistant to the Chairman. Dr. Ferretti sees a growing concern in corporate America about the risks associated with greenhouse gas emissions. He said that many members of the CCX believe a federal emissions mandate “is coming” and that most believe it will be a cap and trade system. He also warned that any effective system must apply to all six greenhouse gasses, not just carbon dioxide.

Chairman Boucher echoed Ferretti’s statements, assuring the audience that the first mandatory U.S. program to control greenhouse gas emissions is currently being drafted. He noted that the scientific consensus on global climate change has “deeply solidified” and that “the science is beyond debate.” Chairman Boucher’s committee plans to finish a draft of the new mandate by September, though he noted that the committee is still undecided about the most effective method of control. He cited both a carbon tax and a cap and trade system as possibilities.

Randall S. Swisher, Executive Director of the American Wind Energy Association, also a panelist, cited “inconsistent U.S. policy” as the single largest constraint to growth in the wind energy sector. He called for the creation of a long-term production tax credit and predicts such a credit could grow wind and solar energy production into one of America’s largest manufacturing opportunities.

DeVito from Pepper Hamilton noted that, “Energy security has emerged as the number one issue facing U.S. energy policy planners.” At the conference, he outlined the current and future state of the issue.

Joseph V. Del Raso, a Pepper Hamilton partner who moderated one of the conference sessions, predicts energy policy could be a point of agreement among Congressional leaders of both parties. “I believe green legislation could be one area where we’ll see significant bipartisan agreement in the 110th Congress,” he said.

The conference was attended by energy experts and law and finance professionals. The day-long event was held in Washington, D.C., on April 19.

About Pepper Hamilton and The Abraham Group

Pepper Hamilton LLP ( is a multi-practice law firm with 450 lawyers providing corporate, litigation and regulatory legal services to leading businesses, governmental entities and nonprofit organizations around the world. The Abraham Group LLC is an international strategic consulting firm led by former U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. It provides advice and assistance to clients seeking opportunities or solutions in the United States and global market. Pepper Hamilton and The Abraham Group formed a strategic alliance in 2006 to provide a comprehensive range of legal and business consulting services focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on the energy sector.