Interior Secretary Rogers Morton recently announced that the odds are 50-50 that the United States will have gasoline rationing by the first of the year. President Nixon said we must cut our driving speeds to 50 miles per hour, join carpools, and eliminate unnecessary use of gasoline.
Let’s see if the politicians will follow their own advice. How many bureaucrats will garage their shiny black chauffeured limousines and join carpools like ordinary folks are told to do. And will President Nixon give up making all those delightful trips in Air Force One to San Clemente and Key Biscayne, devouring tens of thousands of needed gallons of gasoline?
Instead of having the foresight to anticipate the fuel shortage, the Washington politicians used the long arm of government to shut off our needed supplies of oil from Alaska and from the California offshore wells. The politicians and the courts caved in to pressure from the environmental radicals who place a higher value on the frozen tundra in Alaska than on the vital fuel needs of the United States.
No fuel problem would exist today if we had heeded the prophetic 1954 report of the Senate Subcommittee on Minerals Materials and Fuels. Its Chairman was a conservative Senator, George W. Malone, one of the few mining engineers ever to serve in the congress. After an exhaustive investigation of the “Accessibility of Strategic and Critical Materials to the United States,” this Subcommittee came to the conclusion that: “To a very dangerous extent, the vital security of this nation is in serious jeopardy. We are dependent for many of our essential raw materials on sources in far-off lands, many under the control of possible fickle allies or timid neutrals, some veritably under the guns of our potential enemies.” The Malone Subcommittee proved that “none of this vulnerability need exist,” and that the Western Hemisphere could become completely self-sufficient in the production of necessary critical materials., The Malone Subcommittee specifically reported that “The Western Hemisphere (if necessary) can be entirely self-sufficient in petroleum fuels under any conditions,” and urged us to develop that self-sufficiency so we avoid not be at the mercy of foreign dictators’ cutting off our oil.
Since then, the tremendously rich oil fields in Alaska have been discovered. But mistaken Government policies have rejected the thesis of the Malone Report, delayed the Alaskan pipeline for four years, and refused to permit free enterprise to explore and develop American oil resources, thus leaving us dependent on oil from theMiddle East for a significant portion of our oil consumption.
If we had followed the common sense of the Malone Report and the conservatives who urge American self-sufficiency, instead of the self-defeating policies of the environmental radicals, we would not be facing gasoline rationing now.