Abstract

Energy policy has been at the center of American political rhetoric since the early 1970s. Twenty years, five presidents and ten Congresses later, however, the United States still has no coherent energy policy. Why has development of a coherent energy policy proved so difficult for the United States, when other democratic nations have been able to move so much faster?

The author suggests that the root of the problem has been an attitude, an expectation of plenty. When colonists first came to what is now the United States, they found a new world with what seemed to them infinite amounts of land, water, and energy resources. Over generations, there developed an expectation of the American people that there was, and always would be, plenty of everything for everyone. We have been forced over the last twenty years-as a nation and a people-to acknowledge that our resources are finite. That acceptance has not come easily or quickly. There are signs, however, that the dam of inaction has broken, that this country's people and their leaders are now ready to confront the task of developing a principled energy policy.

Publication Title

Washburn Law Journal

Publication Date

1992

Document Type

Article

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