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Energy is an Opportunity, Not a Problem

February 13, 2013 by Bernard L. Weinstein

Bernard L. Weinstein, National Journal As with most issues, Congress is currently gridlocked when it comes to energy and environmental policy. Perhaps this is a good state of affairs. The last time we had an explicit energy policy was in the late 1970s during the administration of President Jimmy Carter. In the aftermath of the OPEC embargo, President Carter argued that reducing America’s dependence on imported oil was the “moral equivalent of war.” His energy advisors then fashioned the nation’s first comprehensive energy policy that turned out to be a set of laws that distorted the marketplace and wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on impractical and uneconomical alternatives to conventional energy supplies. The goals of the “National Energy Plan (NEP)” were to mandate efficiency in energy use, limit prices increases of all fuels, and allocate allegedly scarce energy resources to their perceived highest and best use. For example, natural gas was banned as a fuel for power generation or industrial boilers. (Not surprisingly, the coal industry was a big fan of the “fuel use act.”) Sometimes referred to as a "travesty in five acts," the NEP actually increased rather than decreased our dependence on foreign sources of supply. Read More


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Bernard L. Weinstein
Bernard L. Weinstein

Bernard L. Weinstein is Associate Director of the Maguire Energy Institute and an Adjunct Professor of Business Economics in the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. He has taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the State University of New York, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of North Texas. He has authored or co-authored numerous books, monographs, and articles on the subjects of economic development, energy security, public policy, and taxation. His work has appeared in professional journals as well as the popular press. He earned an A.B. degree from Dartmouth College and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University.

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