Energy & Environment: Markey Wants Answers on Rare Earths
• Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., "is pressing the Obama administration for information about alleged Chinese restrictions on the export of rare earth minerals used in defense and energy technologies, warning of threats to U.S. interests," The Hill reports.
• "Three months after BP capped its runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico, the state of Louisiana is still building a chain of sand berms off its coast to block and capture oil even as federal officials and many scientists argue that the effort will prove pointless," the New York Times reports.
• An Idaho couple has "sued the state to stop the shipments by Imperial Oil and ConocoPhillips" to an oil sands site in Canada, "arguing that the" truck loads delivered there "would threaten the integrity of Idaho's historic portion of U.S. 12, as well as the safety of communities that depend on it as the main road in and out of the area," the Times also reports. "National environmental groups and climate change activists are supporting their efforts, seeing a broader opportunity to stall development of Canada's oil sands, which they denounce as a dirty source of energy. "
• "Combating climate change has long taken a back seat to coal production in West Virginia, but in the hard-fought House race in this state's 1st district, global warming hasn't even made it onto the bus," The Hill reports. "In interviews on Thursday, both the Democratic and Republican nominees for Congress voiced skepticism of the science behind global warming, and the Republican, David McKinley, flatly called concerns about climate change 'an attack on coal.'"
Biography provided by participant
Brent Erickson is executive vice president in charge of the Industrial and Environmental Section at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). BIO represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.
Erickson holds a B.S. in Biology and an M.A. in International Studies. After completing his undergraduate degree, he was involved in fossil fuel research on coal liquids, oil shale and petroleum residuum for three years at the U.S. Department of Energy's Laramie Energy Technology Center.
After completing graduate school, Erickson joined the staff of U.S. Sen. Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.) as a legislative assistant handling energy, public lands, environment, defense and arms control issues. In 1993, Erickson was promoted to legislative director with responsibility to manage all legislative and policy issues for the Senator, who was at the time the Senate's Assistant Republican Leader.
In 1996, Erickson joined the American Petroleum Institute (API) as a Washington representative, where he directed government relations efforts on energy and environmental issues. He was chosen to chair a Senate task force of the multi-industry Air Quality Standards Coalition. While at API he earned three special achievement awards.
Erickson joined BIO in 2000 as director of the Industrial and Environmental Section. He was promoted to vice president in 2001 and executive vice president in 2005.
In May of 2001, Erickson was elected as vice-chair of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Task Force on Biotechnology for Sustainable Industrial Development, a position he held until 2005. In September 2001, he was selected to be a member of a Senate Agriculture Committee advisory group charged with developing renewable energy proposals, which were ultimately included in the final 2002 farm bill legislation. He headed up the Bioenergy/Agriculture Working Group of the Energy Future Coalition, an advocacy coalition funded by the United Nations Foundation, and he continues to be active in the coalition.
In 2005 he was named consulting editor of the journal Industrial Biotechnology. Since 2000 he has served as a member of the board of directors of the Western Research Institute, the not-for-profit arm of the University of Wyoming Research Corporation. He also serves as a member of the Tourism Montréal Advisory Board. In 2008 he was named to the advisory board of the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), a unique collaboration between the University of California, Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of Illinois, and BP.