by Greg Walcher, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow
As Appearing in the Daily Sentinel
In 1961, President Kennedy established a national goal “before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” We did. Not long after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969, President Nixon proclaimed a similarly vital national goal, to end America’s dependence on foreign oil by the end of the next decade. We did not.
Energy independence was not just a campaign slogan, nor a passing fad. Over the next 40 years, every president, of both parties, reiterated its importance, and repeated the promise.
Gerald Ford, 1975: “A massive program must be initiated to increase energy supply, to cut demand, and… to achieve the independence we want.” Jimmy Carter, 1979: “The generation-long growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks right now.” Ronald Reagan, 1981: “We will continue support of research leading to development of new technologies and more independence from foreign oil.” George Bush, 1989: “The gulfs and oceans off our shores hold the promise of oil and gas reserves which can make our nation more secure and less dependent on foreign oil.” Bill Clinton, 1995: “The nation’s growing reliance on imports of crude oil… threatens the nation’s security.” George W. Bush, 2001: “America must become more energy independent, and we will.” Barack Obama, 2008: “I will set a clear goal as president – In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.”