Washington DC, April 9, 2001 — The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market public policy group, is applauding the Bush White House for taking the first steps toward a comprehensive national energy strategy. An interagency energy-policy task force led by Vice President Dick Cheney will release its plan by mid-May, but the Bush Administration is already indicating it will propose more nuclear power plants.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
CEI adjunct policy analyst Chris Horner is praising the decision, which would help mitigate the series of energy crises that promise to plague the country, much like the one California is now experiencing. “The time is now for Congress to cooperate with the Bush Administration and develop a comprehensive energy plan before rising energy costs contribute further to an economic downturn. If Congress and the President work together to reverse years of regulatory policies seeking to strangle supply, then the rolling blackouts we currently see in California will not be so certain to spread to the rest of the country for years to come.”
Senior administration officials say the strategy is designed to relieve some of the pressure on natural gas supplies and users. Most power plants currently in the planning stages are natural-gas driven, due to a regulatory climate which is strongly anti-nuclear and has even discriminated against coal, thus boosting demand for the fuel beyond current infrastructure capacity. Subsequently spiked gas prices and the remaining host of energy-suppression policies enacted over time have worked to make the US vulnerable to supply disruptions.
Horner says diversity of the fuel mix is another necessary security measure, although he points out that years of subsidizing alternative energy sources have failed to produce market-viable generation, still constituting a mere percent of the nation's generation. “Conservation has proven to be a nothing more than a 'no regrets' piece of the larger puzzle and, as conservation-leader California proves, does not suffice to supplant production as a long term strategy,” Horner adds. “Clearly, nuclear power must account for a higher percentage of US electricity than the current 20 percent.”
To schedule an interview with Chris Horner, CEI’s Adjunct Policy Analyst, please contact Katie Wright at 703.683 5004, ext. 132.