Early in his Administration, President Ford said that he would not sit by and watch the Nation continue to talk about an energy crisis and do nothing about it. Nor, he said, would he accept half-way measures which failed to change the direction that has made our nation so vulnerable to foreign economic interests.
The President proposed firm, but necessary measures designed to achieve energy independence for the U.S. by 1985, and to regain our position of world leadership in energy. To accomplish this objective, President Ford recommended to the Congress the first comprehensive national energy program specifically designed to reduce dependence on foreign oil, by:
It was no easy task, however, to accomplish the President's goal of a comprehensive national energy policy. The diverse and sometimes competing interests of many Americans led to months of national debate. President Ford's strong leadership resulted in a solid step forward in December with his signing of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975. In signing the compromise bill, President Ford said:
"This legislation is by no means perfect. It does not provide all the essential measures that the Nation needs to achieve energy independence as quickly as I would like.
"First, this bill will enable the U.S. to meet a substantial portion of the mid-term goals for energy independence that I set forth . . . Second, the pricing provisions of this legislation, properly implemented, will permit the gradual phasing out of controls on domestic oil . . . and should give industry sufficient incentive to explore, develop and produce new fields in the Outer Continental Shelf, Alaska, and potential new reserves in the lower 48 states . . . Third, . . . this legislation represents the most constructive bill we are likely to work out at this time . . .
". . . On balance, . . . I find that this legislation is constructive and puts into place the first elements of a comprehensive energy policy."
The measure contains these important provisions:
President Ford took other actions to get the U.S. on the road to energy independence. The President:
The President knows that there is a great deal more to do. In his State-of-the-Union message for 1976, he said:
"Taking a longer look at America's future there can be neither sustained growth nor more jobs unless we continue to have an assured supply of energy to run our economy. Domestic production of oil and gas is still declining. Our dependence on foreign oil at high prices is still too great, draining jobs and dollars away from our own economy at the rate of $125 per year for every American. . . .
I again urge the Congress to move ahead immediately on the remainder of my energy proposals to make America invulnerable to the foreign oil cartel . . . "
Other proposals which he has submitted to the Congress and which are vital to the achievement of energy independence would:
President Ford has, from the outset of his Administration, shown strong leadership in setting the nation's energy policy, to finally enter the road to energy independence.
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