|Source ABC News- Dr. Harold Denton, Nuclear Regulatory Commission-|
The meltdown of Three Mile Island in March of 1979 looked to be a disaster for several reasons. For one for the nuclear industry, because it was evidence that nuclear power might not be safe for our economy that had already tanked in 1978 and only got worse in 1979. With almost no economic growth, high unemployment and interest rates. A potential political disaster for the Carter Administration where President Carter was already unpopular. But this accident was handled very well so they weren't hurt by it. So there were several different factors that happened because of Three Mile Island. And if there were any positives that came as a result, it was more evidence that America needs a national energy policy then an thirty-two years later that moves America towards energy independence. By promoting our vast amount of natural resources including nuclear power.
If it's done right and when you to do something like this in a bad economy like in the late 1970s and thirty-plus years later, similar circumstances that could put millions of unemployed workers back to work in brand new American energy industries that promotes our vast renewable energy resources. As well as promoting our older energy industries like coal as well as clean coal, gas and natural gas and nuclear power. President Carter I believed advanced energy policy very well on in his Administration. Actually within the first few months of it in early 1977 in the heart of a brutally cold winter and had some success getting a bill through Congress in 1977. Which was a very good idea on his part. Both from an economic point of view and a political point of view. Because President Carter inherited a weak economy and the Middle East was sort or playing games with our oil supply.
With the 1973 Oil Embargo and President Ford picked up on this in 1974-75 after he became President and he inherited an economic recession from President Nixon who he replaced in 1974, so he picked a good time to push a national energy policy as well and he gave speeches about it. Including from the Oval Office, but had no success getting an energy policy passed out of a Democratic Congress. They saw President Ford as very vulnerable being an "Accidental President" who came in during an economic recession. And he had also pardoned President Nixon within a month of becoming President as well. After President Carter in the late 70s, a push for a national energy policy didn't really happen again to President George W Bush. After he became President in 2001, tried to pass a bill in 2003. Which was blocked by Senate Democrats, but got an energy policy passed in 2005, but that was mostly just about big oil, not comprehensive at all. America will never be able to drill for energy independence. American oil has to be one of the resourced we use, but it should only be part of a broader energy policy, but not the whole policy. A national energy policy has to be about of promoting all of our natural resources in order to finally get to energy independence.