The Seeming Impossibility of Energy Independence

Saturday, June 18, 2011

From an article entitled, A Declaration of Energy Independence, Dr. Robert Owens quotes eight presidents in a row — starting with Nixon's response to OPEC's first oil embargo — who committed themselves to achieving energy independence for the United States:

Richard Nixon said, “Let us set as our national goal, in the spirit of Apollo, with the determination of the Manhattan Project, that by the end of this decade we will have developed the potential to meet our own energy needs without depending on any foreign energy source.”

President Gerald Ford said, “I am recommending a plan to make us invulnerable to cutoffs of foreign oil…new stand-by emergency programs to achieve the independence we want…”

President Jimmy Carter said, achieving energy independence was the “moral equivalent of war.”

Ronald Reagan, always looking for the free market approach said we should look to, “native American genius, not arbitrary federal policy, to be free to provide for our energy future.”

In 1991, in the prelude to the First Gulf War, President George H.W. Bush announced, “There is no security for the United States in further dependence on foreign oil.”

In 2000, President Clinton said, “The nation’s growing reliance on imports threatens the nation’s security because it increases U.S. vulnerability to oil supply interruptions.”

George W. Bush repeated recent presidential history by insisting, in his 2003 State of the Union address, that one of his administration’s goals was “to promote energy independence for our country.”

Barack Obama continued the chorus saying, “America’s dependence on oil is one of the most serious threats that our nation has faced.”

This list makes the goal seem futile. But we haven't failed utterly. Far from it. We've successfully attained energy independence with electricity production. How? By having multiple sources. We produce almost no electricity from oil. We use coal, nuclear power, natural gas, hydroelectric, wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass to generate electricity in the United States. We are using an ever-growing variety of sources — and largely sources from within our own country — and that is the key to energy independence.

We've done it with electricity. We can do it with fuel. We still only use one source of fuel for 97% of our transportation: Petroleum. The Open Fuel Standard Act could successfully complete the accomplishment and fulfill the commitments of the last eight presidents. Here's how you can help.

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