Energy Policy: The New Administration

January 30, 1981

Report Outline
Issues Facing Republicans
Carter's Energy Legacy
Conservation and Production
Energy Independence Feasibility
Special Focus

Issues Facing Republicans

Administration's Emphasis on Production

Since 1973, when world oil prices took their first giant leap upward, Americans have heard from all sides that they must learn to adjust to an age of scarcity. During his four-year term, President Carter repeatedly told Americans that they would have to use less energy and pay more for it in order to be sure of having adequate supplies for the future. Responding to such admonitions and to rising energy prices, Americans did begin to conserve. Motorists switched to more fuel-efficient cars; homeowners and managers of commercial property installed insulation and improved heating systems; businesses started to develop and use energy-saving industrial processes.

In sharp contrast to Carter's call for collective sacrifice, President Reagan has made it clear that his administration will emphasize energy production rather than conservation. Echoing this view, Energy Secretary James B. Edwards said recently that “most Americans now agree we must increase production of our own energy resources.” Testifying Jan. 12 at his confirmation hearings before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the former South Carolina governor argued that greater production by the private sector — not conservation — is the key to a vital and alert America. Comparing the country to a person, Edwards said: “The human body uses least energy when it's asleep or dead.”

In his acceptance speech at the Republican convention in July, Reagan condemned “those who preside over the worst energy shortage in our history” for telling us “to use less, so that we will run out of oil, gasoline and natural gas a little more slowly.” Reagan said that the United States “must get to work producing more energy…. Large amounts of oil and natural gas lie beneath our land and off our shores…. Coal offers great potential. So does nuclear energy produced under rigorous safety standards…. It must not be thwarted by a tiny minority opposed to economic growth which often finds friendly ears in regulatory agencies for its obstructionist campaigns.”

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Oct. 12, 1990  Energy Policy: Options for the 1990s
Jan. 30, 1981  Energy Policy: The New Administration
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BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Bilateral and Regional Trade
Energy Policy
Oil and Natural Gas