In 1973, Americans were shocked to discover that a plentiful supply of energy could no longer be assumed. Unfortunately, the Democrat majority in Congress still has not responded to this clear and urgent warning. The United Sates is now consuming more imported oil than it was three years ago and our dependence on foreign sources has continued to increase to the point where we now import more than 40% of our oil.
One fact should now be clear: We must reduce sharply our dependence on other nations for energy and strive to achieve energy independence at the earliest possible date. We cannot allow the economic destiny and international policy of the United States to be dictated by the sovereign powers that control major portions of the world's petroleum supplies.
Our approach toward energy self-sufficiency must involve both expansion of energy supply and improvement of energy efficiency. It must include elements that insure increased conservation at all levels of our society. It must also provide incentives for the exploration and development of domestic gas ' oil, coal and uranium, and for expanded research and development in the use of solar, geothermal, co-generation, solid waste, wind, water, and other sources of energy.
We must use our non-renewable resources wisely while we develop alternative supplies for the future. Our standard of living is directly tied to a continued supply of energy resources, Without an adequate supply of energy, our entire economy will crumble.
Unwise government intervention in the marketplace has caused shortages of supply, unrealistic prices and increased dependence on foreign sources. We must immediately eliminate price controls on oil and newly-discovered natural gas in order to increase supply, and to provide the capital that is needed to finance further exploration and development of domestic hydrocarbon reserves.
Fair and realistic market prices will encourage sensible conservation efforts and establish priorities in the use of our resources, which over the long run will provide a secure supply at reasonable prices for all.
The nation's clear and present need is for vast amounts of new capital to finance exploration, discovery, refining, and delivery of currently usable forms of energy, including the use of coal as well as discovery and development of new sources. At this critical time, the Democrats have characteristically resorted to political demagoguery seeking short-term political gain at the expense of the long-term national interest. They object to the petroleum industry making any profit. The petroleum industry is an important segment of our economy and is entitled to reasonable profits to permit further exploration and development.
At the height of the energy crisis, the Republican Administration proposed a strong, balanced energy package directed at both expansion of supply and conservation of energy. The response from the Democrats in Congress was to inhibit expanded production through artificially set price and allocation controls, thereby preventing market forces from working to make energy expansion economically feasible.
Now, the Democrats propose to dismember the American oil industry. We vigorously oppose such divestiture of oil companies -- a move which would surely result in higher energy costs, inefficiency and undercapitalization of the industry.
Democrats have also proposed that the federal government compete with industry in energy development by creating a national oil company. We totally oppose this expensive, inefficient and wasteful intrusion into an area which is best handled by private enterprise.
The Democrats are playing politics with energy. If they are permitted to continue, we will pay a heavy price in lost energy and lost jobs during the decades ahead.
Immediate removal of counter-productive bureaucratic redtape will eliminate hindrances to the exploration and development of hydrocarbons and other energy resources. We will accelerate development of oil shale reserves, Alaskan petroleum and the leasing of the Outer Continental Shelf, always within the context of preserving the fullest possible protection for the environment. We will reduce complexity and delays involved in siting, licensing and the regulatory procedures affecting power generation facilities and refineries.
Coal, America's most abundant energy resource, is of inestimable value to the American people. It can provide the energy needed to bridge the gap between oil and gas and nuclear and other sources of energy. The uncertainties of governmental regulations regarding the mining, transportation and use of coal must be removed and a policy established which will assure that governmental restraints, other than proper environmental controls, do not prevent the use of coal. Mined lands must be returned to beneficial use.
Uranium offers the best intermediate solution to America's energy crisis. We support accelerated use of nuclear energy through processes that have been proven safe. Government research on the use of nuclear energy will be expanded to include perfecting a long-term solution to the problems of nuclear waste.
Among alternative future energy sources, fusion, with its unique potential for supplying unlimited clean energy and the promise of new methods of natural resource recovery, warrants continued emphasis in our national energy research program, and we support measures to assure adequate capital investment in the development of new energy sources.
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