With Middle East blow-ups, pipeline politics, wind farm controversies, solar industry scandals, and disputes over fracking, it's natural to think that the energy policy debate is at its most intense ever. But it's easy to forget that energy issues dominated the nation's politics in the 1970s as well. Wars were fought, political careers made and unmade, and fortunes gambled and lost, all because of the vagaries of energy production and consumption, which held the American public and its politicians in thrall.
This historical investigation focuses exclusively on American energy policy in the 1970s. Revisiting the last time energy issues came to the forefront of national political discourse, the essays collected here provide new insight into the energy crisis of that decade—insights with clear implications for our present dilemmas. Among a new generation of energy historians, the authors address questions of political leadership, foreign policy, supply, and demand. Chapters examine the politics of energy policymaking; efforts by American policymakers to increase supply and reduce demand; and the challenge of crafting American foreign policy as the Middle East emerges as the world’s leading oil-producing region. American Energy Policy in the 1970s reminds us of a wide range of policy successes and failures and offers an in-depth look at the complicated workings of such issues as café standards, alternative energy supplies, nuclear power, conservation, the strategic petroleum reserve, and the Carter Doctrine.
This book restores historical clarity and context to the complex and politically freighted discussion of energy in America. It should inform and enlighten the discussion going forward.
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Robert Lifset is the Donald Keith Jones Assistant Professor of Honors and History in the Joe C. and Carole Kerr McClendon Honors College at the University of Oklahoma. His research focuses on energy and environmental history. Lifset is the web and list editor of H-Energy, an H-Net website devoted to the history of energy, and the author of Storm King Mountain and the Emergence of Modern American Environmentalism, 1962–1980.
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