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Energy independence: What presidents have said about it

Oklahoman Published: October 1, 2012

For several generations, the occupants of the White House have been saying the U.S. needs freedom from foreign energy sources, yet we still do not have an energy policy that achieves it. Here are their exact words:

Richard M. Nixon


Let this be our national goal: At the end of the decade, in the year 1980, the United States will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need to provide our jobs, to heat our homes and to keep our transportation moving.”

Gerald Ford, January 1975

I am recommending a plan to make us invulnerable to cutoffs of foreign oil. It will require sacrifices, but it — and this is most important — it will work.”

Jimmy Carter,

July 1979

Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 — never. From now on, every new addition to our demand for energy will be met from our own production and our own conservation. … For I am tonight setting the further goal of cutting our dependence on foreign oil by one half by the end of the next decade.”

Ronald Reagan,

February 1981

We will continue support of research leading to development of new technologies and more independence from foreign oil, but we can save at least $3.2 billion by leaving to private industry the building of plants to make liquid or gas fuels from coal.”

George H.W. Bush, June 1989

And America must work towards energy independence. You know, last year 37 percent of the oil that America consumed was imported, and so far this year, that figure's up to almost 40 percent. And that trend means trouble. We worked hard to cut our consumption of foreign oil, and I will not stand by and watch our country slip back into a dangerous state of dependency, wide open to the next oil shock from some country halfway around the world.”

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by Paul Monies
Energy Reporter
Paul Monies is an energy reporter for The Oklahoman. He has worked at newspapers in Texas and Missouri and most recently was a data journalist for USA Today in the Washington D.C. area. Monies also spent nine years as a business reporter and...
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