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In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania it is:



September 2001


Campaign finance reform becomes a crucial platform issue


Editorial: Welcome to the Pittsburgh Standard

Letters to the editor:

Two powerhouses govern the people in different ways

Bush power to the rescue


Finding the right priced textbook


Cruising the Burgh on foot


Chi Alpha ministries makes an impact

The Newman Club offers Catholics hope

Moral law or religious banter: The debate over the 10 Commandments continues


Jaromir Jagr makes capital with the Capitals

The Great Race: For the elite and slow of feet

The pampered life of a college athlete



September online edition

Bush power to the rescue

Kate Langdon
Pittsburgh Standard

You’ve heard about the rolling blackouts in California, the debates about drilling in Alaska, and the rising electricity bills.  But somehow between Jay Leno’s jokes about Bush’s new Energy Policy and a few news clips between Wimbledon and the NBA Championships, you haven’t quite figured out what this energy dispute is all about.

Don’t worry.  You’re not alone.  The national debate on energy is a complicated one with demands coming from all sides: demands for more energy, demands for cleaner air, demands for an end to the rolling blackouts, demands for more energy efficient cars and homes, etc. 

And the entire issue is made even more complicated by the fact that the U.S. has not addressed the energy issue head-on with a unified public policy since the oil crisis in the 1970s.  

So, here’s where the current story begins:  During his second week in office, George W. Bush established the National Energy Policy Development (NEPD) Group to further investigate these energy concerns and create recommendations for a new policy.  Hence, the National Energy Policy, unveiled May 17, 2001.

The NEPD Group identified the major national energy problem as the increasing gap between domestic energy production and energy consumption.  As population and energy needs increase, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that over the next 20 years, U.S. oil consumption will increase by 33%, natural gas consumption by over 55%, and electricity consumption by 45%.  They also estimate that the current domestic energy production rates will not keep pace with our energy needs. 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. is producing 39% less oil today than it did in 1970. This production rate has created concerns over our reliance on foreign oil.  The Department of Energy estimates that in 20 years, the U.S. will import 2 of every 3 barrels of oil.

Bush’s National Energy Policy has taken a stab at addressing this energy gap based upon the premise that energy production and environmental conservation do not have to be mutually exclusive concerns.

Just in case you’ve been busy studying for Organic Chemistry, writing your thesis, or just catching up on reruns of Beverly Hills 90210, and haven’t exactly had time to read the entire 170 pages that constitute the current Engery Policy, I’ll give you a quick summary.  (Of course, this is only a quick summary.  It does not include all of the initiatives set forth in the official policy.)

The National Energy Policy lists 5 goals:  modernize conservation, modernize our energy infrastructure, increase energy supplies, accelerate protection and improvement of the environment, and increase energy security.

On the conservation end, the policy proposes that the U.S. “promote further improvements in the productive and efficient use of energy.”  Among other initiatives, it calls for increased energy conservation by government agencies, increased funding for renewable energy and energy-efficient research, and tax credits for purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles.

The policy’s phrase “modernize our energy infrastructure” refers to our need to efficiently transport energy from the source to the user.  To achieve this end, one of the items the policy recommends is that agencies be directed “to improve pipeline safety and expedite pipeline permitting.”

The most controversial element of Bush’s policy calls for both an increase in traditional energy sources as well as alternative fuels.  Some components of this goal include opening a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to fuel exploration, granting $1.2 billion to fund research into alternative fuels, and providing $2 billion over the next 10 years to research clean coal technology.

Some argue that Bush’s energy policy with its emphasis on continued fossil fuel production contributes to global warming.  Critics also suggest that Bush is promoting these production methods, because of his ties to oil and gas companies.

Environmentalists want more emphasis on alternative fuels and conservation efforts.  They are also opposed to drilling in Alaska and cite that drilling will disrupt the wildlife living in that area.

In an attempt to address some of these environmental concerns, the plan put forward by the NEPD includes implementing new guidelines to reduce truck idling emissions, giving royalties from clean oil and gas exploration to conservation efforts, and increasing exports of U.S. environmentally friendly technologies.

Probably the least contentious goal of the plan, increase energy security, emphasizes providing assistance to low-income families and also to specific regions in times of extreme weather.


Express Your View

  Volume I: Issue I

Editorial Board

Jeremy Day: Editor in Chief

Kensley Lewis & Jackie Martin: Layout Editors

Matthew Bell: Copy Editor

Center for Life and Family: Publisher