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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 31, 2008

Mason to co-chair panel on national energy policy, competitiveness

University of Iowa President Sally Mason will co-chair a national task force that will explore how likely upcoming energy and climate change legislation will impact Midwest economic competitiveness.

The Chicago Council Task Force on National Energy Policy and Midwestern Competitiveness, which is being assembled by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, will assess the costs and benefits to the Midwest economy of regional and national policy proposals that include different abatement and energy usage strategies. It will directly follow on and support the agreements reached at the Midwestern Governors Association Summit on Energy Security and Climate Change in November 2007 by prioritizing implementation strategies, considering the economic costs and opportunities of implementation for Midwest industry and the wider regional economy, and thinking through workforce development needs.

Mason will serve as co-chair of the Chicago Council Task Force on National Energy Policy and Midwestern Competitiveness along with John W. Rowe, chairman and CEO of electric utility Exelon Corporation, and John Livingston, managing partner in the Chicago office of McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. It will also include about 30 leaders who are broadly representative of Midwest interests and crucial stakeholders.

The task force will convene over 12 months beginning this spring and will produce a report of findings and recommendations that will be used to help shape federal energy and climate change policy in 2009 and 2010.

"We are especially honored that you will take on this responsibility given your existing commitments in leading one of the most important and largest academic institutions in the region and the nation," Chicago Council President Marshall M. Bouton said in a letter to Mason. "Your leadership will be particularly crucial in shaping the work of the task force and contributing to its success."

Mason said she's excited to explore how the university can contribute to the discussion on national energy policy. She said the UI has gone a long way toward establishing itself as a leader in the responsible use of natural resources. It was among the first universities to join the Chicago Climate Exchange, North America's only -- and the world's first -- greenhouse gas emission registry, reduction and trading system for all six greenhouse gases. And for several years now the UI has been actively exploring alternative energy sources, such as oat hulls obtained from Quaker Oats in Cedar Rapids and burned in place of coal at the UI's power plant.

"The University of Iowa and the state of Iowa actively support energy conservation and innovation," Mason said. "The state has attracted companies developing new energy technologies, from alternative fuels to wind-generated power, and the university has taken steps to reduce its own carbon footprint while conducting important research related to energy and the environment."

One recent example of the UI's commitment to going greener is the UI's Energy Conservation Strategic Plan, which was unveiled last year and is considered the most ambitious in the UI's 160-year history. Highlights include a commitment to sharply reduce the university's reliance on non-renewable energy sources by 2013, unprecedented campus-wide participation in conservation efforts, and a direct tie-in with the UI's research and educational missions. The plan may be downloaded at

Chicago Council officials say the task force will cut across issues and industries to develop regionally beneficial recommendations on critical issues likely to be included in future federal legislation such as cap and trade programs to reduce greenhouse gases; higher fuel economy standards; increased use of biofuels, including both corn-based ethanol and cellullosic ethanol; the role for renewable power sources; carbon sequestering; improving regional transportation infrastructure; and methods to increase economic competitiveness in the auto industry and manufacturing as well as newer industries related to energy efficiency.

Founded in 1922 as The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs is a nonpartisan organization committed to influencing the discourse on global issues through contributions to opinion and policy formation, leadership dialogue and public learning. It hosts public programs and private events -- including task forces, conferences, studies, and leadership dialogue -- that feature world leaders and experts with diverse views on a range of global topics. More information is online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Steve Parrott, University Relations, 319-335-0552,; Stephen Pradarelli, University News Services, 319-384-0007,; Christopher Whitney, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 312-821-7516