where we’re going to put it. It’s like buying a house without having a lot for it; you don’t know where it’s going to go. And, of course, had we had 20,000 MX missiles, it wouldn’t have changed our response to the Soviet airline shooting down [Korean Airline incident]. I want a strong defense because I think the U.S. has international responsibilities, and we must have a strong defense. Spending more on defense does not necessarily mean a strong defense. Energy And back in ’75, some programs that looked good wouldn’t look good anymore. In ’75, I supported the B-1 bomber. I don’t know whether I would today because now it has gotten so overarmed, it is so heavy from what I’ve read at this point, it’s almost like a suicide bomber, it looks as though we could not refuel it; if we actually had to overfly another country, it probably wouldn’t be able to get back. Then let’s look again. The person who never looks again at either a vote or a decision is probably bound to make more mistakes than a person who can. With regard to nuclear energy, I wanted to see the USA have a diverse energy supply. And most Americans don’t realize where our supplies come from. They say solar; solar is not even a tenth of a percent and can never, with present technology, support industry. The most it can do is help homes. And I always voted for more solar industry research. We doubled expenditures. But solar is not a significant source of energy today, probably won’t be in this century. Over 70% of our energy comes from oil and gas, and if you look at oil, gas, and coal, you have three sources which for the past 65 years have always made up over 90% of this nation’s energy supply, and I think will continue to do so. So oil, gas, and coal have to be the mainstays. I felt that nuclear energy, in 1975 and 1976, could be a viable source of cheaper energy for consumers because I knew that the cost of oil and gas was going to go up; there wasn’t any doubt about that. I knew a lot about energy, and I knew that those costs were going up. How many more rivers are there to dam for hydroelectric? Not a lot. I can remember when Ralph Nader came in to appear before, and I said, “Mr. Nader, do you favor an increase in the use of nuclear energy?” and he said no. I said, “All right, that’s supplying about 2% of our nation’s energy.” I said, “Do you favor using more firewood, cutting down more forests?” and he said no, and I said, “That’s another 2%. We’ve got about the same amount in firewood that we do for nuclear. And that’s 4% between them.” I said, “We get 4% of our energy from hydroelectric. Do you know any wild and scenic rivers you want to dam?” He said no; I said, “All right, that’s another 4%; that’s 8.” I said, “Now, the remaining 92% of our energy is oil, gas, and coal. Do you favor the increased use of coal?” And he really didn’t, and I said, “All right, do you have any ideas for increasing oil and gas? Are we in a static energy position?” That’s where we are. Somebody’s got to make those decisions. If you just want to be doctrinaire, and say no more of this and that, no more coal, all right then, more oil and gas. Or more gas we’re under federal price controls where’s it going to come from? You’ve got to be realistic in these things. And the people who are either doctrinaire or purely ideological, I think are unrealistic. I favored the increase in ’75 of nuclear energy because I felt it offered us an alternative, and I didn’t want to see us increase our dependency on imported oil, and at the time we were importing almost half our oil from overseas. And it takes time to change a nation’s industrial base and its use patterns. Today .. . . . . if we look at the nations that have had the greatest economic health in the last thirty or forty years . . . Germany and Japan, which have proportionately very small defense budgets. . . .” And nothing has changed your mind? No, to the contrary. Since that time, what has happened is that the cost of nuclear energy has gotten so high that I indicated in Fort Worth a while back, I said I can’t see us building more nuclear plants now because they’re not cost competitive. The cost overruns have been something that we could find almost nowhere else except in the Pentagon. It’s just been outrageous. And nuclear energy simply is not now economically competitive. So if it’s not economically competitive, why spend money on it? We thought it would be, and it wasn’t. So what is consistent is my desire for a diverse energy set of sources and what is consistent is my desire to get energy to people as cheaply as possible. What has changed is the circumstances, and therefore, I . don’t see it as being in any way vacillating; I simply think the circumstances have changed. Was deregulation supposed to be a conversation measure? In part. And has it worked, do you think? Yes, it certainly has. We are today using considerably less fuel than we did in 1977, for example. In 1977, we were importing about eight million barrels of oil a day. Today we’re importing about three million barrels of oil a day. We are conserving, and while I was on the House committee on energy, I voted to set fuel efficiency standards for American cars, not a very popular vote in Detroit. And I voted that we would set standards of 20 miles per gallon fleet average by 1980, and by 1985, it was to be 28 miles per gallon. Detroit said that they couldn’t meet those standards. By a combination of marketplace and some other things, they have basically met those standards. That was, if you want to call it a proconservation vote, it was. Certainly it was not one that was popular in the car industry. But I felt we had to move toward greater energy conservation, and so that wasn’t just a vote on the House floor; I was on that subcommittee and working on that all the way down the line. See if these figures sound accurate and then respond to them please. Prices for heating oil have increased 421 % between 1972 and 1980; electricity, 118%; natural gas, 205%. Then energy consumption per household dropped 13% in that period, but the nation’s aggregate energy consumption rose because, obviously, there are more households. Does that sound plausible to you? Well, first of all, I don’t know about heating oil, but it depends on what base period you want to use. If you want to say energy prices since 1950, they’re probably about today where they were in 1950 in terms of the price of natural gas. When you say natural gas prices, are you talking intra-state or inter-? Inter -. Oh, that’s probably very likely, that inter-state prices have gone up since ’72 that much, and inter-state gas is still the best energy value that people can get. I think it is extremely likely that we are going to have a natural gas shortage in the winter of ’84; we may have one this year. And you can regulate the price down so that it’s a lot cheaper now, but if we don’t have any later, do the same thing to movies. You know, I paid 15C to go to the movies when I was a boy, and I can remember when Paul Newman came to testify before our committee for THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11
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