NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

THE BUSH/KERRY ENERGY PLANS

August 11, 2004

How to answer high oil prices? President Bush plans to spur oil production while John Kerry emphasizes reduced demand. That is a primary difference in the 2004 presidential race, say observers.

Highlights of the Bush energy plan:

  • Promote greater domestic production while offering tax breaks toincrease supply.
  • Drill for oil in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge and natural gas in areas of the West including the Rocky Mountains.
  • Develop smaller and safer nuclear power plants.
  • Lift the current reserve supply of the Strategic Petroleum Reservefrom 665.6 million barrels to 700 barrels to provide incentives to oil companies to continue filling the reservoir.

Highlights of the Kerry plan:

  • A federal mandate on utilities to produce 20 percent of their electricity from so-called renewable resources -- such as solar, wind and geothermal -- by 2020.
  • Impose higher standards for corporate average fleet economy on the nation's auto makers.
  • Oppose permanent storage of nuclear wastes in Nevada's Yucca Mountain.
  • Temporarily put on hold plans to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to deal with short-term price spikes.

Critics of Kerry's policies as well as independent analysts argue that to raise the nation's energy supply by 20 percent with renewable resources would impose an enormous price tag on electricity consumers.

Furthermore, Kerry's position on nuclear waste storage effectively blocks the development of any new nuclear plants, since Wall Street will not finance more without a clear option for storing waste, say observers.

Source: John J. Fialka, "Candidates Pursue Divergent Energy Paths," Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2004.

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