Bush energy plan favors fossil fuel; sacrifices environment

Posted on 17 May 2001
Statement by Kathryn S. Fuller, President of WWF-US

"President Bush is right when he says that America faces an energy crisis. But the real crisis, the crisis of global warming, has far more serious implications for the future, and for the kind of world we wish to leave our children, than his administration appears willing to recognize. Greater reliance on oil and coal to power our economy, as proposed by President Bush, will sharply increase the carbon pollution that causes global warming.

"By relying heavily on the increased production of fossil fuels, while ignoring important opportunities for conservation and efficiency, the authors of this proposal are trying to balance our nation's energy future on a one-legged stool. Simply increasing production, at the expense of the wilderness areas and wildlife we all cherish, will not buy America energy security -- in either the short or the long run.

"With its lopsided emphasis on production, the Bush-Cheney plan ignores the fact that the energy crisis we face is not one of supply, but one of runaway demand, magnified by mismanagement. The relatively modest amount by which we could increase domestic oil production would not begin to satisfy that demand and would have no effect on prices that are set in a global marketplace.

"Far from making energy cheaper, a plan that relies chiefly on the extraction of fossil fuels will exact a terrible cost. And even with the newest technology, drilling in pristine places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge cannot be conducted without causing major harm to wildlife and the wilderness environment.

"But it does not have to be this way. We still have time to make a better and wiser choice through conservation and investment in technologies that increase efficiency and utilize non-polluting renewable resources. A more balanced plan would provide major economic benefits by focusing on the transition to a sustainable energy future and by reducing the carbon pollution responsible for global warming.

"America needs an energy policy that will do more than just give us directions to the next filling station. We need a roadmap that takes us forward, into the 21st Century, not backward to the 1950s."