Last week, President George W. Bush introduced his national energy plan for the United States from St. Paul’s RiverCentre. Bush undoubtedly snared the attention of citizens in the state by making an appearance here, but his speech came short of explaining any viable long-term solution to growing energy concerns. In his speech, Bush made sure to express his apparent concern, yet his obvious patronage to industry interests was not at all mitigated by his few interjections about environmental preservation. The president seems to be standing at the beginning of a potentially serious energy crisis but overplaying the severity of the situation in order to justify his one-sided proposals.
Using the president’s logic, the energy situation has already reached crisis standing and thus necessitates immediate solutions regardless of the long-term consequences. However, neither Bush nor any governmental agency has actually proven that the country is in the midst of an energy crisis. Even former President Jimmy Carter stated the current situation is nothing compared to what he faced during his presidency in the 1970s. It cannot be denied that the situation in California is worsening, however, Bush should not act as if the shortages in the Golden State are also what the rest of the nation is facing.
When people are faced with an immediate crisis, they inevitably seek the quickest solution and disregard any long-term consequences. For example, one of Bush’s proposals is to increase the efficiency of power plants by easing clean air rules. He understands what needs to be done, but goes about it in one of the most harmful ways possible. A bit more time and ingenuity would allow Bush to find a solution that pleases both industry and environmental interests. Bush’s short-term mindset is also evident in his proposal to re-license nuclear power plants without having fully tackled the issue of waste disposal. Congress needs to use its best discretion when considering Bush’s proposals and weed out the quick-fix proposals to give breathing room to viable long-term solutions.
Despite previous backlash to the idea, Bush is eager to begin drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He remains convinced that this operation would not harm the invaluable ecosystem. However, it appears Bush’s view of the refuge is being obstructed by large green dollar signs with flashing lights. Congress should pull the plug on those lights and prevent any drilling on public sanctuaries.
Bush is certainly overemphasizing the actual severity of the energy situation. Energy should be a concern for the president, but he should focus on designing more conservation-oriented proposals. It is understandable that our nation demands quick answers for our problems. It is the obligation of the president, though, not only to look out for the short-term good of America, but to factor in the long-term impact for our nation. The ramifications of quick-fix solutions won’t be evident immediately, and having them as the center of Bush’s energy plan allows him to escape his responsibility of working on solid, long-term solutions.