Archive for April 16th, 2011

April 16, 2011

Will We Ever Get Serious About Our Energy Needs? Part 1

by lewwaters

Ever since the 1973 Oil Embargo gave America long lines waiting to purchase gasoline for our vehicles and escalating prices, we keep hearing how we must end our dependence on foreign oil, seek alternative energy sources, conserve, drill our own or what have you. Democrat or Republican, it didn’t matter, all gave us rhetoric and lip service while we blue collar, middle class Americans suffered with higher expenses and less choices in what we choose to drive.

In a way I was lucky during the 1973 oil crisis, I was still in the U.S. Army and stationed overseas in the country of Germany that saw a much greater embargo of oil from the Middle East than did America. I say I was lucky because we did not have gas lines over there and during the height of it all the German Government banned driving on Sunday, save taxi cabs and emergency vehicles. We in the Military who stood weekend duty had to seek a driving pass to be prominently displayed inside of the car to be out driving and even then, we could only drive to and from our duty. I never had to sit in a gas line until I returned to America in March 1974 and then only a few times as the crisis eased shortly after my return.

I am struck that ever since that time, nearly 40 years ago, we continue to hear much of the same rhetoric coming from politicians of both parties and still, very little, if anything has actually changed. We still hear the calls of conserve, we are running out of oil, make cars more efficient, drill our own, don’t drill our own, we need to get off of foreign oil, whatever, much of the same rhetoric from 1973 is still heard in 2011.

Republican President Richard Nixon, in office at the outset of the oil crisis went before the nation early on November 25, 1973 outlining a series of steps called for to minimize the impact, both to the economy and to our personal lives to weather the crisis. He also announced the appointment of an “Energy Emergency Action Group to analyze the situation on a continuing basis and to advise him of all actions required to deal with it.”

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April 16, 2011

Will We Ever Get Serious About Our Energy Needs? Part 2

by lewwaters

In his January 19, 1978 State of the Union address, President Carter proclaimed,

“We here in Washington must move away from crisis management, and we must establish clear goals for the future, immediate and the distant future, which will let us work together and not in conflict. Never again should we neglect a growing crisis like the shortage of energy, where further delay will only lead to more harsh and painful solutions.
Every day we spend more than $120 million for foreign oil. This slows our economic growth, it lowers the value of the dollar overseas, and it aggravates unemployment and inflation here at home.
Now we know what we must do, increase production. We must cut down on waste. And we must use more of those fuels which are plentiful and more permanent. We must be fair to people, and we must not disrupt our Nation’s economy and our budget.
Now, that sounds simple. But I recognize the difficulties involved. I know that it is not easy for the Congress to act. But the fact remains that on the energy legislation, we have failed the American people. Almost 5 years after the oil embargo dramatized the problem for us all; we still do not have a national energy program.”

As inflation began to spiral higher, in his January 25, 1979 State of the Union address, President Carter called upon Congress

“to take other anti-inflation action–to expand our exports to protect American jobs threatened by unfair trade, to conserve energy, to increase production and to speed development of solar power, and to reassess our Nation’s technological superiority. American workers who enlist in the fight against inflation deserve not just our gratitude, but they deserve the protection of the real wage insurance proposal that I have already made to the Congress.
To be successful, we must change our attitudes as well as our policies. We cannot afford to live beyond our means. We cannot afford to create programs that we can neither manage nor finance, or to waste our natural resources, and we cannot tolerate mismanagement and fraud. Above all, we must meet the challenges of inflation as a united people.”

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April 16, 2011

Will We Ever Get Serious About Our Energy Needs? Part 3

by lewwaters

On July 17, 1981, newly sworn in Republican President Ronald Reagan submitted his National Energy Policy Plan to Congress. In it he stated,

“Our national energy plan should not be a rigid set of production and conservation goals dictated by Government. Our primary objective is simply for our citizens to have enough energy, and it is up to them to decide how much energy that is, and in what form and manner it will reach them. When the free market is permitted to work the way it should, millions of individual choices and judgments will produce the proper balance of supply and demand our economy needs.”

He laid out his policy saying,

“This Administration’s actions to end oil price controls and to dismantle the cumbersome regulatory apparatus associated with those controls demonstrate the intent stated in my February 18 economic message to minimize Federal intervention in the marketplace. Reforms in leasing policies and the removal of unnecessary environmental restrictions upon the production, delivery, and use of energy are part of this same effort to reduce bureaucratic burdens on all Americans.
This does not mean that the Federal government is withdrawing from all involvement in energy. It cannot and should not. The Government itself is directly responsible for lands which contain a major share of our resource wealth.”

In his January 26, 1982 State of the Union address, President Reagan said, “By deregulating oil we’ve come closer to achieving energy independence and helped bring down the cost of gasoline and heating fuel,” setting us on a path of relatively economical and plentiful energy throughout the 1980’s, but still increasingly dependent upon foreign oil as much of our land locked oil sources remained blocked to recovery.

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April 16, 2011

Will We Ever Get Serious About Our Energy Needs? Part 4

by lewwaters

With Democrats now in control of both Houses of Congress, in the January 23rd, 2007 State of the Union address saw President Bush still calling,

“Extending hope and opportunity depends on a stable supply of energy that keeps America’s economy running and America’s environment clean. For too long our Nation has been dependent on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists – who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments … raise the price of oil … and do great harm to our economy.
It is in our vital interest to diversify America’s energy supply – and the way forward is through technology. We must continue changing the way America generates electric power – by even greater use of clean coal technology … solar and wind energy … and clean, safe nuclear power. We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles, and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol – using everything from wood chips, to grasses, to agricultural wastes.
We have made a lot of progress, thanks to good policies in Washington and the strong response of the market. Now even more dramatic advances are within reach. Tonight, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we have done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next ten years – thereby cutting our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.
To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory Fuels Standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 – this is nearly five times the current target. At the same time, we need to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks – and conserve up to eight and a half billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017.
Achieving these ambitious goals will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but will not eliminate it. So as we continue to diversify our fuel supply, we must also step up domestic oil production in environmentally sensitive ways. And to further protect America against severe disruptions to our oil supply, I ask Congress to double the current capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. These technologies will help us become better stewards of the environment – and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change.”

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