The United States is the largest energy consumer in the world so the need for affordable energy is unquestionable. As the gap between energy consumption and production in the U.S. widens, our dependence on imported energy continues to rise. Consequently, increasing production of domestic energy resources, both renewable and non-renewable, has become a top priority.
However, in a recent poll regarding U.S. energy policy, 56 percent of those surveyed placed "protecting the environment" as a higher priority than "keeping energy prices low." This illustrates the public's equally strong desire to protect our environment and preserve it for future generations. As a result, state and federal agencies are faced with the difficult task of establishing and maintaining a balance between energy production and environmental protection through regulatory oversight of energy production operations.