The U.S. Congress either won’t, cannot, or is incapable of acting to solve one of the worst crises the United States has faced in recent years.
Specifically, it is the energy crisis.
Crude oil remains more than $130 per barrel after topping out at $140 per barrel last week. At noon on Wednesday, July 9, the price was $137.49. Gasoline has gone to more than $4.50 per gallon and is holding above $4 per gallon at present.
The U.S. economy cannot remain in its present robust condition for long.
There are signs the United States is slipping into a very unnecessary recession. Predictions are that it may be deep and long.
The nation lays prostrate. America appears helpless, and it will remain so until leadership returns to the helm.
The final responsibility for leadership has been placed squarely on the doorstep of the White House and its present occupant, President George W. Bush.
Mr. President: The buck has stopped there.
Your office is the last resort.
The following letter was first published when the price of oil was $54 per barrel. It now rests at $137.49. Must the nation wait for oil to rise to $200 or $300 per barrel when all possibility of recovery will be lost? The open letter follows:
President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
Next to acts of terrorism and a prosecution of the war in Iraq, energy heads the list of critical issues the United States faces.
Economically, energy itself is the lifeblood of America, as you well know. The ever-increasing prices of oil and the risks involved with our suppliers threaten the very economy you have so ably regenerated.
Heaven forbid, but in the event of another terrorist attack on American soil, coupled with an escalating energy crisis, the people of America would suffer major psychological damage.
You have the constitutional right and power to take an action this nation so desperately needs — the Declaration of a National Emergency for energy by the president of the United States.
The attorney general (authorized by the U.S. Constitution) can produce a "finding" — a finding that would "constitute a clear and present danger to the health, welfare and safety of the citizens of the United States."
Evidence to produce such a finding is everywhere abundant. For example: (1) the rising energy crisis, which could and would cause the United States to deplete its emergency oil reserves to meet public demands; (2) the rising cost of crude oil under the control of a cartel composed of real and potential enemies; (3) the imminent threat of inflation brought on by uncontrollable rising fuel costs as in the Carter administration of the late 1970s, which caused a severe world recession and double-digit unemployment at home; (4) America has a desperate need to utilize its own energy resources to make itself totally self-sufficient; (5) at present, the above reasons pose an imminent threat that could cause severe damage to the national economy and “constitute a clear and present danger to the health, welfare and safety of the citizens of the United States.”
In addition, there would be a question as to whether or not America had the natural resources to wage war and successfully fight terrorism at home and abroad.
The U.S. citizens will welcome the announcement that a national emergency enables the president of the United States to open previous presidential set-asides such as ANWAR in Alaska, offshore drilling in Florida, mining rights of the Escalante Staircase in Utah, to name a few.
Presidents Carter and Clinton set aside millions of acres of critically needed energy-producing areas in North America that could now become available.
In addition, the president can authorize an all-out campaign to construct new atomic energy plants around the nation. (After all, France uses atomic energy to produce 75 percent of its electrical needs.)
New electrical power lines could be constructed and old ones upgraded to reinforce our failing power grid that has caused disastrous blackouts in the past.
New oil refineries could be built on existing sites to expand our much-needed refining capacity.
Pipeline right-of-ways could be cleared for the transport of the petroleum products to market, thereby eliminating much of the environmental risk of transport by water.
Negotiations with Canada can be reopened to extend pipelines through that nation into the United States.
A temporary suspension of the Endangered Species Act would remove other unnecessary obstacles to the energy independence of America.
The nation would be rewarded by many benefits such a declaration would provide.
Among those benefits would be: Employment could be increased by several million new jobs, brought on by the drilling operations, pipeline construction, new refinery construction, pipeline upgrades and new power lines. The national economy would receive a substantial boost.
Mr. President, your action is urgently needed.
E. Ralph Hostetter
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