Gerald Ford on Energy & Oil

President of the U.S., 1974-1977; Republican Rep. (MI)


Strip mining & high emissions OK if labor & management agree

Q: Why did you veto the strip mining bill? And why did you work against strong controls on auto emissions?

FORD: I vetoed the strip mining bill because it was the overwhelming consensus of knowledgeable people that that strip mining bill would have meant the loss of literally thousands of jobs, something around 140,000 jobs. Number two, that strip mining bill would have severely set back our need for more coal. The auto emissions--it was agreed by the head of the UAW, and by the heads of all of the automobile industry--we had labor and management together saying that those auto emission standards had to be modified.

CARTER: The strip mining law would have been good for the country. The claim that it would have put 140,000 miners out of work is hard to believe when at the time Mr. Ford vetoed it, the United Mine Workers was supporting the bill. And I don't think they would have supported the bill had they known that they would lose 140,000 jobs.

Source: The Third Carter-Ford Presidential Debate , Oct 22, 1976

Need more oil and gas production in comprehensive program

Q: [to Carter]: There seems to be a difference between you and the President on the use of nuclear power plants, which you would use as a last priority.

CARTER: We're gonna run out of oil. We now import about 44% of our oil. We need to shift from oil to coal. We need to concentrate our on coal burning and extraction, with safer mines, but also clean burning. We need to shift very strongly toward solar energy and have strict conservation measures. And then as a last resort only, use atomic power.

FORD: In 1975 I submitted to Congress the first comprehensive energy program recommended by any president. It called for an increase in the production of energy in the United States. If you're going to increase domestic oil and gas production--and we have to--you have to give those producers an opportunity to develop their land or their wells. I think you have to have greater oil and gas production, more coal production, more nuclear production, and in addition you have to have energy conservation.

Source: The First Carter-Ford Presidential Debate , Sep 23, 1976

No gas tax increase to solve energy crisis

Even after the Arab oil embargo of 1973, Congress failed to see the need for a comprehensive energy policy. There seemed to be only 3 broad options available to meet this serious threat to our economic stability.
  1. Increase our domestic supply of energy
  2. Conserve and manage energy demand
  3. Establish standby emergency programs similar to the gas rationing.
It would be difficult to persuade Congress to move on any of these fronts. The head of the Federal Energy Administration believed that one of the "obvious" solutions to the energy problem was an increase in the gasoline excise tax of about 20 cents per gallon. When reporters asked me if I agreed with him, I replied that I thought it was the wrong approach. Not only was the idea impractical--Congress would never pass such a tax--it was also inequitable, because if would place the full burden of conservation on the purchasers of gasoline. So it was not going to be included in the energy package.
Source: A Time To Heal, by Gerald Ford, p.228-229 , Jan 15, 1975

12% investment tax credit for nuclear power plants

I am proposing a number of actions to energize our nuclear power program. I will submit legislation to expedite nuclear leasing [licensing] and the rapid selection of sites.

In recent months, utilities have cancelled or postponed over 60% of planned nuclear expansion and 30% of planned additions to non-nuclear capacity. Financing problems for that industry are worsening. I am therefore recommending that the 1-year investment tax credit of 12% be extended an additional 2 years to specifically speed the construction of powerplants that do not use natural gas or oil. I am also submitting proposals for selective reform of State utility commission regulations.

To provide the critical stability for our domestic energy production in the face of world price uncertainty, I will request legislation to authorize and require tariffs, import quotas, or price floors to protect our energy prices at levels which will achieve energy independence.

Source: Pres. Ford's 1975 State of the Union message to Congress , Jan 15, 1975

Higher taxes on oil to reduce imports

I turned my attention to the speeches I was scheduled to give on the economy and the energy crisis. I would urge the imposition of higher taxes on both imported & domestic oil and natural gas to encourage the conservation of fuel. The levies would reduce our projected oil imports by about 1 million barrels a day by the end of 1975 and 2 million barrels a day by the end of 1977. The revenues from these new taxes would flow back into the economy in the form of additional tax cuts and credits and payments to the poor.

I was well aware that this plan contained risks. The increased taxes on energy could boost inflation by hiking the cost of oil and could deflate the economy by leaving industry with less money to spend in other areas. But I would have to accept these risks.

[In the State of the Union speech], "America needs a new direction," I concluded, "a change of course which will put the unemployed back to work, increase real income and production, and achieve energy independence."

Source: A Time To Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald Ford, p.230-233 , Jan 13, 1975

Require oil marketing to independent contractors

Rep. Ford sponsored H.R.8341: The Independent Oil Marketers Supply Act:
Source: Bill sponsorship archives from the Library of Congress , Jun 4, 1973

Let Big Three automakers collaborate on reducing emissions

Rep. Ford sponsored H.R.4942: Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Acceleration Act: Source: Bill sponsorship archives from the Library of Congress , Feb 28, 1973

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