The guarantee of America's energy future, according to the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan, depends on "aggressively" stimulating development of the country's ample resources, focusing on coal, gas and nuclear power.
In contrast to the Democratic Party's emphasis on conservation and government controls, the GOP argues in the platform adopted here that "the proven American values of individual enterprise can solve our energy problems."
Reflecting the platform's overriding commitment to less government involvement in all areas and greater reliance on the private sector, the document states on energy: "A Republican policy of decontrol, development of our domestic energy resources and incentives for new supply and conservation technologies will substantially reduce our dependence on imported oil."
The GOP contends that removing price controls on energy will prove an effective deterrent to rising consumption -- more so, the platform contends, than Democratic prosposals to "conserve by government fiat."
"We reject unequivocally punitive gasoline adn other energy taxes designed to artificially suppress energy consumption," the platform says.
Much inefficient energy use results from government subsidization of imported oil and holding the price of natural gas substantially below its market value. When the price of energy is held artificially low, there is no incentive for conservation. Every BTU [British thermal unit] of genuine energy 'waste' in our economy would rapidly disappear if we immediately and completely dismantle all remaining energy price controls and subsidies."
The Republicans believe that the higher prices bound to result from their decontrol plan would prove an incentive to private enterprise in fields such as oil exploration, gas and other nonrenewable resources. But the GOP does acknowledge that government should study renewable-energy technology.
The GOP urges rapid expansion of gasohol production and government incentives to companies in the fields of solar energy, geothermal energy, windpower, nuclear fusion, alcohol synthesis and biomass -- the next generation of energy sources.
In the meantime, the Republicans strongly endorse nuclear power, saying the "highest priority" must be given to safety and design without unnecessarily delaying the licensing of new plants. The GOP is also resolved to move quickly toward resolving such nuclear-related problems as waste disposal, fuel reprocessing and storage.
As for coal, the Republicans would relax "overly stringent" Clean Air Act regulations. "This program," the platform says, "will speed conversion of utility, industrial and large commercial oil-burning boilers to coal to the greatest extent feasible, thus substantially cutting our dependence on foreign oil."
In short, the GOP pledges to "assure that governmental restraints, other than the necessary and reasonable environmental controls, do not prevent the use of coal."
The GOP maintains, moreover, that environmental controls involving air, water, waste disposal, mine reclamation and leasing "must be made rational . . . to accelerate private investment" -- a policy certain to meet with heavy resistance from pro-environmental groups.
While the Republicans are committed to energy and self-sufficiency, they blame inflation and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries for this country's recurring problems with oil. "Fully 60 percent of the world oil price increase since 1973," the platform argues, "represents the depreciation of our dollars rather than an increase in the real price of oil."
The GOP favors a rapid filling of the stratetic oil reserve to an ultimate capacity of 1 million barrels while the country builds up energy resources and moves away from foreign oil sources.
In keeping with the Republican commitment to individual freedoms, the platform contains a paean to the private automobile. "We vigorously support the right of personal mobility and freedom," the platform says, "as examplified by the automobile and our modern highway system.
"While recognizing the importance of fuel efficiency and alternate modes of transportation, we quickly acknowledge that for millions of Americans there is no substitute on the horizon for the automobile."
In energy, as in all matters addressed in the platform, the GOP expresses a fundamental optimism about the American people's ability to exercise free choice.