U.S. energy proposal fails to address cause of crisis

-- Yomiuri Shimbun, Tokyo - May 18

Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2001

The U.S. government announced a new national energy policy that could influence world trends. The policy's many concrete recommendations, such as resuming the construction of nuclear plants, lifting the ban on oil and natural gas development in Alaska and creating new tax incentives for low-pollution vehicles, reflect aspects of both supply and demand.

The new U.S. energy policy is characterized by a surprisingly high tone of optimism. Confidence of achieving high economic growth, environmental protection and energy security simultaneously by promoting deregulation and technological development is what underlies this hyper-optimism.

The U.S. energy policy is entangled in the conflicting interests of federal and state authorities and does not have the clout to influence private power companies.

The biggest factor behind soaring U.S. energy prices is that energy-related companies have cut back on supply to enhance efficiency. An attempt to tide over the energy crisis without overhauling that system portends certain danger.

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