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Statement About Energy Conservation Efforts by the Federal Government and the Business Community

July 02, 1974

THE ENERGY crisis in America has passed, but the energy challenge is as great as ever. Our goal must be to develop the capacity for self-sufficiency in energy, and to achieve this goal we must continue our efforts to both expand energy supplies and conserve energy.

In June of last year, I directed the Federal departments and agencies to reduce their anticipated energy consumption by at least 7 percent over the succeeding 12-month period.1 At the same time, I appealed to consumers, to industry, and to other organizations to join in a nationwide, voluntary campaign of energy conservation.

1 See 1973 volume, Item 191.

John C. Sawhill, the Administrator of the Federal Energy Administration, has now reported to me on the progress of the Federal effort. The achievements are impressive. During the third quarter of the Federal program, savings in the nondefense agencies amounted to 19 percent of anticipated energy usage, while savings by the Defense Department rose to 31 percent. The composite savings of 30 percent for the quarter exceed the records of 20 and 26 percent, respectively, achieved during the first and second quarters of fiscal year 1974. Figures for the fourth quarter are not yet available, but when they are, we are confident that the Federal Government will have far exceeded our original goals for the year.

The total savings for the first 9 months of the Federal program represent the equivalent of 75 million barrels of oil or approximately $600 million in reduced costs to the taxpayer for energy.

I am also pleased by a report I have received from the Secretary of Commerce, Frederick B. Dent, on the progress made by business in response to the voluntary program I asked him to undertake with the business community. He reports that energy consumption in the industrial sector was reduced by 5 percent per unit of output during the period of October 1973 through January 1974. This rate of savings, which the Secretary expects will be maintained or exceeded in 1974 by all of commerce and industry, represents an annual savings of the equivalent of 425 million barrels of oil. He indicates that 8,000 chief executives have pledged to undertake energy management programs and that some individual companies are reporting savings in excess of 20 percent. Many companies are also reporting that improved energy management is reducing their costs and increasing productivity. Since private industry accounts for approximately 65 percent or two-thirds of our country's energy consumption, these savings will have a significant impact upon our national consumption levels.

We learned last winter that all of us can contribute to energy conservation. Voluntary actions by millions of Americans were a critically important factor in bringing our Nation through the oil crisis. The continuing accomplishments of the Federal Government and of business and industry should serve as a splendid example of the way that further savings can be achieved and, as part of Project Independence, will advance us toward our ultimate goal of self-sufficiency in energy.

I welcome this opportunity to commend the Federal departments and agencies as well as private industry for their fine leadership. In the final analysis, of course, their efforts alone are not enough. Every American must join in this cause. Our ability to achieve energy independence will depend heavily upon the conservation efforts of all segments--consumers, business, and government.

Richard Nixon, Statement About Energy Conservation Efforts by the Federal Government and the Business Community Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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