The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• Richard Nixon
Statement About the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline
November 16, 1973
AMERICA'S energy requirements in recent years have outpaced our capacity to meet these requirements through the domestic energy resources presently developed. This has created. a dangerous condition of reliance on foreign energy sources which could have a profound effect on this Nation's ability to play an independent role in 'the international arena. It has further created a situation in which an economy built on .access to plentiful domestic supplies of cheap energy must now compete in foreign markets for increasingly expensive energy. It is clear that the United States has entered a new era with regard to energy, and as Lincoln once said, "we must think anew and act anew."

We must take every available step to conserve energy in order to avoid the potential hardships of the short-range energy shortage. And we must take every available step to utilize our vast, but untapped, domestic energy resources in order to avoid dependence on foreign sources of supply in the long run.

In the past year, I have urged the Congress on several occasions to act on specific legislative proposals directed to these ends. S. 1081--the Alaskan pipeline bill--is the first piece of major legislation by this Congress dealing with our energy requirements.

This legislation, which I am signing today, will at last enable us to construct the pipeline necessary for vital access to the rich oil deposits located on the North Slope of Alaska. When completed in 1977, the pipeline will initially carry 600,000 barrels of oil per day, and eventually 2 million barrels of oil per day on its way to the continental United States. This is an amount equal to over i x percent of the current U.S. demand for oil. The project itself is the single largest endeavor ever undertaken by private enterprise.

It should be noted that the pipeline will be constructed and operated under the most rigid environmental safeguards ever devised for such a project. We can be confident that the Alaskan pipeline will not require us to sacrifice our environmental priorities to help meet our energy needs.

While I am extremely gratified that we can at last begin construction of the Alaskan pipeline, I am concerned by several extraneous and ill-advised amendments added to the bill on the Senate floor.

One of these amendments grants the Federal Trade Commission the authority to itself litigate certain civil matters arising out of its regulatory activities after appropriate notification to the Attorney General. I am advised that this provision would dangerously decentralize the general control and coordination over Federal litigation which has traditionally been exercised by the Department of Justice.

Another amendment permits independent regulatory agencies 'to require information of business and industry separate and apart from the statutory controls that now govern requests for information by Federal agencies from the private sector. This provision will unfortunately eliminate present safeguards against bureaucratic harassment of business and industry by permitting endless duplication of requests by regulatory agencies.

A further amendment authorizes Senate confirmation of the incumbent Director of the Energy Policy Office and the head of the Department of the Interior's Mining Enforcement and Safety Administration. The President should be free to select, without Senate intervention, those advisers who function in an intimate staff relationship with him, as does the Director of the Energy Policy Office.

In addition, this amendment raises constitutional difficulties because of the way it affects incumbent executive officials.

While I am considering the need for corrective action, I want to take this opportunity to urge the Congress to refrain from attaching non-germane amendments to legislation of vital national importance like S. 1081, thereby depriving the concerned committees, the public, and the Administration of the opportunity to consider and deal with such amendments on their individual merits.

Citation: Richard Nixon: "Statement About the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline", November 16, 1973. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
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