Alexander's Column

More power, Scotty

Mark Alexander · May 18, 2001

President Bush announced details of his national energy policy Thursday, comprising a 105-point program to protect the nation from future energy crises like those we now face. Mr. Bush noted that the United States is approaching “the most serious energy shortage since the oil embargoes of the 1970s” caused by “a fundamental imbalance between supply and demand.” The President’s plans call for increased oil exploration, nuclear power development, billions in tax credits for conservation and exploratory development of wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy sources.

“This is the first comprehensive energy policy probably ever,” Mr. Bush said. “It provides over 100 proposals to diversify and increase the supply of energy, innovative proposals to encourage conservation and ways to make sure that we get energy from producer to consumer. … If we fail to act, we could face a darker future: a future that is unfortunately being previewed in rising prices at the gas pump and rolling blackouts in California.”

Mr. Bush added: “Too often people are asked to take sides between energy production and environmental protection, as if people who revere the Alaskan wilderness do not also care about America’s energy future; as if the people who produce America’s energy do not care about the planet their children will inherit. We’ve yelled at each other enough. Now it is time to listen to each other and to act.”

Following the release of the President’s national energy policy statement, U.S. Secretary of Energy, Spencer Abraham, said: “Over the past eight years we have stood back and watched energy demand soar while we did very little to increase supply or to upgrade the infrastructure that delivers power to consumers. Look no further than California to understand America’s potential energy future: rolling blackouts, unemployment, and financial fatalities that stretch from the new economy to agriculture. None of our energy challenges is insurmountable. Nor must California serve as a harbinger of the future. But addressing these challenges successfully requires something that has been missing over the past decade: leadership.”

In other news from the Executive Branch, President Bush also announced “Project Safe Neighborhoods,” a $558.8 million, two year initiative, which will fund 113 federal prosecutors and 600 state and local prosecutors, for the same purpose. “It will send an unmistakable message: If you use a gun illegally, you will do hard time,” Mr. Bush said. “We’re going to reduce gun violence in America, and those who commit crimes with guns will find a determined adversary in my administration. Nationally, there were 12,658 murders in 1999, two-thirds of which were shooting deaths. This is unacceptable in America. It’s just unacceptable. And we’re going to do something about it.”

The legislative action met with the approval of the National Rifle Association. “[The President] has basically outlined on a national basis what we’ve been supporting for the last four or five years, which is an aggressive arrest and prosecution agenda for using existing laws against violent criminals carrying firearms,” said Jim Baker, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.

While the former administration of Bill Clinton actively chipped away at the Second Amendment, prosecution of crimes involving guns under the 20,000+ gun laws currently on the books dropped 44%. Clearly, Mr. Clinton’s objective was always gun confiscation, as remains the objective of the NRA’s principal nemesis, Handgun Control, Inc. Leftist Michael Barnes of HCI said of Mr. Bush’s program, “Prosecution alone will not make our communities safer from gun violence.” Round ‘em up and melt 'em down!

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