Energy Policy

May 25, 2001 • Volume 11, Issue 20
Should the focus be on production or conservation?
By Mary H. Cooper

Introduction

Roughnecks work the Peterson Drilling Co. oil rig in Carlsbad, N.M. President Bush's new energy plan calls for more exploration and drilling for domestic oil and natural gas. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Newsmakers)
Roughnecks work the Peterson Drilling Co. oil rig in Carlsbad, N.M. President Bush's new energy plan calls for more exploration and drilling for domestic oil and natural gas. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Newsmakers)

Electricity blackouts in California, skyrocketing heating bills and the likelihood of higher gasoline prices this summer are raising concerns about energy supplies. The Bush administration says the nation faces an “energy crisis” and calls for boosting domestic supplies of oil, coal and natural gas and building new nuclear power plants. Critics say that focusing more on increasing supply than on reducing demand would only worsen pollution and threaten sensitive habitat while discouraging conservation and a greater reliance on environmentally benign, renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind. But supporters of the president's supply-side energy policy suggest that growth in energy demand is inevitable if Americans are going to maintain and improve their standard of living.

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