Dear President Bush,
I voted for you, and am a Republican. But on the subject of energy policy, even though I thought Jimmy Carter was the weakest President during my lifetime, I remember very well his energy policy. It was transforming the nation into a more decentralized posture in the use of energy resources–conservation was even considered an energy source, and we were showing significant progress in diversifying into alternative, and renewable energy sources.
A good deal of forty years in my career was spent in the energy sector, several in oil, several in the nuclear industry, some time in geothermal, and then about twenty five years in a global engineering company that was involved in energy projects across the spectrum.
In my opinion, the Carter energy policy was the most effective in diversifying energy options, and moving us away from oil. The government made a strong (financial) commitment to acting as an significant catalyst in the energy R&D, and applied technology areas.
I feel that oil was the energy source of the industrial revolution, and is the energy source for developing nations, like China. But we are capable of doing so much more today with our technologies, that oil should be an obsolete concept, although it should enjoy some fractional share in the energy mix. A new vision for America’s energy future must take hold.
The main point –the Federal government is going to have to step up to this problem.
It will have to play a significant catalytic role in partnering with the business and academic research communities. It must increase its dollar investments significantly at first in alternative fuel developments, tax incentives, and loan guarantees as seeding actions. After the pot is boiling, driven by successful commercialization, the government can step back and let business take it from there. The infrastructures needed to support new energy sources will also require major investments, and involve significant front end risks, both perceived and real. In these the Federal government should also enter in, and then retreat when these markets are viable–new fueling stations for automobiles is an example.
More offshore drilling and production will only continue to keep this country addicted to oil–and besides, shortage of refining capacity is a major source of our problem today, not oil shortages.
I feel we should also be reopening our investigation of the feasibility of oil shale extracted liquids and gas, along with oil from coal–these become more attractive in today’s petrochemical cost structure and the U.S. has abundant quantities of the sources.
North Las Vegas, NV