Panel: U.S. Must Sacrifice; Speakers at the Carter Conference Focus on Energy Policy

By Quigley, Rebecca K. | The Florida Times Union, January 21, 2007 | Go to article overview

Panel: U.S. Must Sacrifice; Speakers at the Carter Conference Focus on Energy Policy


Quigley, Rebecca K., The Florida Times Union


Byline: REBECCA K. QUIGLEY

President Bush must have the courage to ask the public to make some sacrifices as part of a "bold" energy plan he has promised to present in his State of the Union address this week, a Carter-era adviser said Saturday.

Participants in Saturday morning's Carter Conference panel on energy, conservation and environment at the University of Georgia revived a theme that they said the past four presidents haven't spoken of in connection with energy - sacrifice.

"If presidents are going be really serious about this, they have to do what Carter did ... throw caution to the wind," said Stuart Eizenstat, Carter's chief domestic affairs adviser.

Eizenstat and former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker, a Tennessee Republican, said Americans will have to sacrifice if they want to reduce their dependence on foreign oil, but the leader of an environmental lobby disagreed, saying that technology is the answer.

Carter made huge political sacrifices as "the first and last president to make energy a central issue of his presidency," Eizenstat said. "We sacrificed, in part, a second term."

Carter pushed legislation that phased out leaded gasoline, despite American oil refiners' attempts to stall the legislation that they said would hurt their ability to deliver sufficient amounts of gasoline to the market.

Carter also led efforts to increase fuel efficiency standards and deregulated oil, natural gas and other energy and utility industries.

Subsequent presidents have not had the political courage to take on the country's continuing energy crisis "because it is so divisive," Eizenstat said.

Carter's success in addressing the long-term challenges of energy consumption and environmental preservation required a disregard for political consequence, he said.

"Unfortunately, subsequent presidents haven't taken it on with the same zeal," and the country has lost 25 years of progress because of it, Eizenstat said.

Should Bush's new energy plan be as progressive as he claims, Eizenstat said he hopes the plan will have bipartisan support and that current leaders won't shy away from letting the public know what sacrifices it will take. …

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