|Source:James Miller Center- James E. Carter (Democrat, Georgia, 39th President of the United States) talking about American energy policy in 1977.|
“President Carter speaks to the American people about the importance of an energy policy that focuses on conservation of the nation’s natural resources and a new energy department. Carter also addresses his ideas to improve the economy and reduce the size of government.”
From the James Miller Center
President Carter was right to take on energy policy and creating a national energy policy that would move America off of foreign oil and move us towards energy independence. He understood that America has a surplus of natural resources and that we can and should be energy independent like Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and others and we shouldn’t have to import foreign oil.
President Carter understood the energy crisis of 1973 and how that hurt the American economy, thanks to OPEC. And understood the energy crisis of the late 1970s and how that effected the American economy with higher energy prices, that contributed to our high unemployment. Because people were spending more money on their energy and as a result weren’t spending money on other products.
The problem with President Carter’s energy policy, is that it didn’t go far enough. It was almost completely focused on renewable energy resources: wind, solar, natural gas, and others. When yes, they should be part of a comprehensive energy policy. But those energy industries were so brand new and underdeveloped in the late 1970s when this speech was given and still are today that they alone can’t get America to energy independence.
America produces oil, coal, nuclear and natural gas. We have the potential to produce a lot of these and can produce them all over the country. But we simply can’t get there on nuclear power and oil drilling alone. They won’t get us to energy independence, but they are our mature energy resources right now. And have to be part of the picture.
Renewable energy, conservation, high energy standards, should and have to be part of a national energy policy for our economy, so we can produce a lot more jobs in brand new energy industries. For our environment, to make it cleaner. And for our foreign policy, to get us off of foreign oil. And so countries that don’t have our best interest at heart, will have less leverage over us in the world. And this is exactly what President Carter was pushing. But he didn’t go far enough. He should’ve included oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power as well.
Oil, has, coal, nuclear are already here for us, because they are already there and mature. And employ a lot of Americans in this country. And we can produce them in a way that doesn’t harm the environment through regulation and taxation.
President Cater deserves credit for focusing on energy policy and making it a centerpiece of his economic policy. And probably pushed this debate farther along than any President since. But missed an opportunity to create a comprehensive energy policy that by now could’ve moved America to energy independence and finally off of foreign oil.