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20 Quotes To Read Before The 2020 State Of The Union

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For those preparing to cover tomorrow’s State of the Union address, where the President may likely tout U.S. energy policy, we’ve compiled 20 quotes from past State of the Union addresses that tell the story of America’s remarkable journey from ‘energy crisis’ to energy revolution.

Since President Nixon’s 1974 State of the Union—where he made energy independence the national goal—a bipartisan procession of presidents has regularly made similar clarion calls to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. It is an American achievement that the United States is now a net exporter of energy while also meeting growing demand and lowering emissions, and should not be overlooked in the coverage of tomorrow’s address if energy policy is discussed.

A Generation of Progress Towards American Energy Security

    President Nixon, 1974

  1. “Primarily due to our energy crisis, our economy is passing through a difficult period….In all of the 186 State of the Union messages delivered from this place, in our history this is the first in which the one priority, the first priority, is energy.”

  2. “As we move toward the celebration two years from now of the 200th anniversary of this Nation's independence…[l]et this be our national goal: At the end of this decade, in the year 1980, the United States will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need to provide our jobs, to heat our homes, and to keep our transportation moving.”

  3. President Ford, 1975

  4. “Our growing dependence upon foreign sources has been adding to our vulnerability for years and years, and we did nothing to prepare ourselves for such an event as the embargo of 1973.”

  5. President Ford, 1976

  6. “Taking a longer look at America's future, there can be neither sustained growth nor more jobs unless we continue to have an assured supply of energy to run our economy. Domestic production of oil and gas is still declining. Our dependence on foreign oil at high prices is still too great, draining jobs and dollars away from our own economy at the rate of $125 per year for every American.”

  7. President Ford, 1977

  8. “In January 1975 I reported to the Congress that the state of the Union was not good. I proposed urgent action to improve the economy and to achieve energy independence in 10 years…Bluntly, I must remind you that we have not made satisfactory progress toward achieving energy independence. Energy is absolutely vital to the defense of our country, to the strength of our economy, and to the quality of our lives.”

  9. President Carter, 1978

  10. “Unless we act now, our energy problems will rapidly get worse. Failure to act will fuel inflation, erode the value of the dollar, render us vulnerable to disruptions in our oil supply, and limit our economic progress in the years to come.”

  11. President Carter, 1980

  12. “The crises in Iran and Afghanistan have dramatized a very important lesson: Our excessive dependence on foreign oil is a clear and present danger to our Nation's security. The need has never been more urgent.”

  13. “The single biggest factor in the inflation rate last year, the increase in the inflation rate last year, was from one cause: the skyrocketing prices of OPEC oil. We must take whatever actions are necessary to reduce our dependence on foreign oil-and at the same time reduce inflation.”

  14. President Regan, 1982

  15. "By deregulating oil we've come closer to achieving energy independence and helped bring down the cost of gasoline and heating fuel."

  16. President Regan, 1985

  17. "We seek to fully deregulate natural gas to bring on new supplies and bring us closer to energy independence."

  18. President George H.W. Bush, 1989

  19. “[T]he gulfs and oceans off our shores hold the promise of oil and gas reserves which can make our nation more secure and less dependent on foreign oil.”

  20. President George W. Bush, 2001

  21. “As we meet tonight, many citizens are struggling with the high cost of energy. We have a serious energy problem that demands a national energy policy. The West is confronting a major energy shortage that has resulted in high prices and uncertainty…America must become more energy independent, and we will.”

  22. President George W. Bush, 2006

  23. "Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world."

  24. President George W. Bush, 2007

  25. "For too long, our Nation has been dependent on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes and to terrorists who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments and raise the price of oil and do great harm to our economy."

  26. President Obama, 2012

  27. "Over the last 3 years, we've opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight I'm directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources. Right now--right now--American oil production is the highest that it's been in 8 years."

  28. "The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don't have to choose between our environment and our economy."

  29. President Obama, 2013

  30. "After years of talking about it, we're finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. … We produce more natural gas than ever before, and nearly everyone's energy bill is lower because of it."

  31. President Obama, 2014

  32. "Businesses plan to invest almost $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas. I'll cut red tape to help States get those factories built and put folks to work, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas."

  33. President Obama, 2015

  34. "We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet. And today, America is number one in oil and gas."

  35. President Trump, 2019

  36. "And we have unleashed a revolution in American energy. The United States is now the number-one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world."

For more, watch API's video on how restrictive energy policies, like a fracking ban, would erase a generation of progress fostered by Republican and Democratic presidents alike.


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