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Adelman: EPA Ruling on Palm Oil Offends Asian Allies

Yes, upsetting a friend and ally for sound diplomatic or national security reason happens, and must happen, whenever a policy is critical enough and the decision made on it is sound enough. But neither is true in the case of the EPAís recent decision.

Another critical goal for the U.S. is to broaden its energy mix. At a time of rapidly rising global energy demand, the United States must embrace an all-of-the-above energy strategy. That means using all available low-cost fuels, from traditional fossil fuels to renewable sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. The EPAís decision undermines this important goal by removing options from the nationís energy mix, thus making American energy markets more prone to shocks and volatile price swings.

In fact, it hurts the American economy overall. Consumers now face $4 per gallon gasoline and saw highly fluctuating prices at the pump during the past year. Diversifying our energy supply by incorporating unconventional fuels such as palm oil would lower prices overall and steady the price line over time. In essence, diversifying the supply of renewable transport fuel to include palm oil would provide refiners and blenders greater flexibility in sourcing, helping to create more price stability.

It makes little sense for the Obama administrationís EPA to rule against palm oil in this manner. Given our strategic and economic interests in Asia, sound policy would be to reverse this decision.

Kenneth Adelman served as a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under President Ronald Reagan, and as a member of the Defense Policy Board and the advisory board to the director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center under President George W. Bush.

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