Former President George W. Bush addressed members of a Thursday conference on energy regulation, saying that what's at issue is how to best harness energy for the "common good in a reasonable way."
"The question is: Can these energy sources be exploited in safe and sound ways?" he asked. "That's what the debate is about. ... We at the Bush Center think so."
The conference at the George W. Bush Institute, part of the George W. Bush Presidential Center that includes his presidential library and museum, included panel discussions on topics ranging from coal regulation to how environmentally friendly policies and growth policies can go hand-in-hand.
The conference was billed on the institute's website as "a bold effort to determine the cost that misguided regulation imposes on growth."
Bush, a Republican, spoke before a panel on how to achieve energy growth that also included Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, both Republicans, along with Canadian Finance Minister James Flaherty. Also participating in the panel were James Douglas, former Republican governor of Vermont, and Jordy Herrera, a former energy secretary of Mexico.
Flaherty said he's disappointed that the U.S. has not yet approved the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to Texas. A final report is expected to be issued by the U.S. State Department later this year on whether the project should move forward. Supporters say it would create jobs, while environmentalists have urged the department to reject it.
Perry said that allowing private sector investment in the energy industry in Mexico and the development of the Keystone pipeline would be important developments.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has proposed opening the state-owned oil company, Pemex, to private investment.
The Bush Center is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University.