The Promise of Energy Independence


Senator John Kerry just yesterday in New Mexico vowed: "As president, I have a real energy plan to harness the full force of America's technology and make this nation independent of Middle East oil in ten years."

We've heard it all before. Below is a depressing walk down energy independence memory lane.

--President Nixon launched "Project Independence," promising in a January 1974 radio address: "We must never again be caught in a foreign-made crisis where the United States is dependent on any other country, friendly or unfriendly, for the energy we need to produce our jobs, to heat our homes, to furnish our transportation for wherever we want to go." Nixon promised to end America's dependence on foreign oil by 1980.

--President Gerald Ford promised in his 1975 State of the Union speech: "I am recommending a plan to make us invulnerable to cutoffs of foreign oil. It will require sacrifices, but it--and this is most important--it will work…A massive program must be initiated to increase energy supply to cut demand, and provide new standby emergency programs to achieve the independence we want by 1985."

--President Jimmy Carter, in a speech to the Nation on April 18, 1977 promised to make the quest for energy independence the "moral equivalent of war." Two years later on July 15, 1979, an even grimmer Carter pledged "I am tonight setting a clear goal for the energy policy of the United States. Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977-- never. From now on, every new addition to our demand for energy will be met from our own production and our own conservation. The generation-long growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks right now and then reversed as we move through the 1980s, for I am tonight setting the further goal of cutting our dependence on foreign oil by one-half by the end of the next decade -- a saving of over four and a half million barrels of imported oil per day."

--Presidential candidate Bill Clinton stated during the 1992 campaign: "Instead of coddling special interests whose fortunes depend on America's addiction to foreign oil…America needs a new national energy policy that enables Americans to control America's energy future."

--President George W. Bush in his 2004 State of the Union message declared: "Consumers and businesses need reliable supplies of energy to make our economy run -- so I urge you to pass legislation to modernize our electricity system, promote conservation, and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy."

If you're a glutton for punishment see my earlier column on the quest for energy independence.