Dick Cheney on Energy & Oil

Vice President of the United States under George W. Bush


Drew a line in the sand: Nothing to do with Kyoto Protocol

In 2001, the President wrote to four Republican senators who had asked the administration to clarify its position on limiting pollutants to address the greenhouse gas effect. The letter criticized the Kyoto Protocol in the harshest possible terms and suggested we would have nothing to do with it. I wanted to add mitigating language saying that we would work with our allies to address the problem of climate change.

When I walked into the Oval Office and described the approach, the President looked surprised and said, "But the letter is already gone. The Vice President is taking it up the Hill because he has a meeting up there. It's too late."

In fairness to the President, I think he had thought of the letter as addressing a DOMESTIC issue for our Congress. But I knew better. As I predicted, we suffered through this issue over the years: drawing that early line in the sand helped to establish our reputation for "unilateralism." We handled it badly.

Source: No Higher Honor, by Condoleezza Rice, p. 41-42 , Nov 1, 2011

2000: Energy Task Force studied Iraqi oilfield maps

There is now far more evidence than was available at the time of the invasion to suggest that Iraqi oil supplies may have played a much bigger role in the administration's overall decision than anyone realized. We now know, for example, from a document dated just two weeks after Bush's inauguration, that his National Security Council was ordered to meld its review of operational policy toward "rogue states" (including Iraq) with the secretive Cheney Energy Task Force's "actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields."

We know that one of the documents that was receiving scrutiny by the task force during that same time period was a highly detailed map of Iraq--showing none of the cities, none of the places where people lived, but showing in great detail the location of every single oil deposit known to exist in the country, with dotted lines demarcating blocks for promising exploration.

Source: The Assault on Reason, by Al Gore, p.117-118 , Jul 1, 2008

Criticized for task force secrecy, but focused on leak-limit

The president's energy task force, chaired by Vice President Cheney, held a series of meetings with outside interests whose identities were withheld from the public. This created an early impression of an administration prone to secrecy and reinforced the image of the Bush White House as in thrall to corporate interests.

As with any new administration, there were some glitches that caused us to change out procedures. For example, there were a few leaks to the media concerning White House message strategy discussions--something that Bush intensely disliked, as did Card, Rove, and Hughes. To prevent future leaks, some strategy planning meeting were reconfigured. The twice-weekly message meetings turned into more of a general run-through of the public schedule and what the topics would be than an open discussion and deliberation about ideas. Those strategic decisions were left to much smaller meetings of top advisers.

Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p. 96-97 , May 28, 2008

2000: No intention to keep campaign promise to regulate CO2

I thought back to how EPA administrator Christie Todd Whitman had made the mistake of taking Pres. Bush at his world. In her public appearances, she often repeated his campaign pledge on regulating greenhouse gases. I think she believed him. But remember that just weeks into the new administration, V.P. Cheney delighted the Republican caucus by announcing that the president had no intention of honoring that pledge. A senator shouted, "Somebody better tell Christie!" as the caucus erupted with cheers.
Source: Against the Tide, by Sen. Lincoln Chafee, p.237 , Apr 1, 2008

Sued in Supreme Court for keeping energy policy secret

The Bush administration’s sustained campaign to build up the powers of the presidency and to extend the confidentiality of White House decision-making is due for a major test in the Supreme Court. The justices will hear an appeal by Cheney, who is defending his refusal to disclose files of his energy policy task force. The administration has raised the stakes on the preliminary decision by arguing that the case threatens “fundamental principles of the separation of powers” between the branches of government. Because of the sweeping constitutional arguments being made, the case has the potential to sharply curtail the power of the courts and, by implication, Congress to oversee the workings of the executive branch. The key argument is that the Constitution’s separation of powers among the three branches means that the other two branches are without authority to second-guess the president when he and his staff are deciding how to use executive powers.
Source: Lyle Denniston, Boston Globe on 2004 Pres. race , Dec 1, 2003

Energy use outstrips growth-so conserve AND drill

Cheney believes that the fundamental energy problem was not a short-term price spike, but a longer-term gap between the growth in American energy production and the growth in American energy use. In 2000, the US for the first time imported more than half its oil; if the trends continue, the US would import 2/3 of its oil by 2020. Conservation would obviously help. But Cheney said that while conservation might be a “personal virtue,” conservation alone was not “a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.“

The final report of Cheney’s energy task force called for expanded oil drilling and for regulations to force companies to build costlier, more energy-efficient products. It called for reducing regulatory impediments to the use of coal, while subsidizing wind and solar power and other pet environmental schemes. It advocated careful consideration of an expansion of nuclear power-without ever quite endorsing that expansion.

Source: The Right Man, by David Frum, p. 62-63 , Jun 1, 2003

Met with Enron representatives in drawing up energy plan

What is the Enron saga about? Enron’s bankruptcy, the largest in history, exposes the decay of corporate accountability in the new Gilded Age. No-account accountants, see-no-evil stock analysts, subservient “independent” board members, gelded regulators, purchased politicians--every supposed check on executive plunder and piracy has been shredded. Enron transformed itself from a gas pipeline company to an unregulated financial investment house willing and able to buy and sell anything- energy futures, weather changes, bandwidth, state legislatures, regulators, senators, even Presidents.

Bush is pressing Congress to pass the Enron energy plan, which features massive subsidies to energy companies and further deregulation. And while the White House has begrudgingly admitted to six meetings between Enron representatives and the Cheney energy task force, it continues to stonewall efforts by the General Accounting Office to find out who met with Cheney to draw up the plan.

Source: The Nation, Editorial, “Enron Conservatives,” p. 4-5 , Feb 4, 2002

Give nuclear power a fresh look

Nuclear power can both solve America’s energy woes and help protect the environment, Vice President Cheney told CNN. The answers, Cheney said, lie in increasing the supply of energy sources -- a policy that would include giving nuclear power “a fresh look.” Cheney said, “It is a safe technology and doesn’t emit any carbon dioxide at all. With the gas prices rising the way they are, nuclear is looking like a good alternative.”

Cheney acknowledged that the problem of nuclear waste was “a tough one” and that the US would need to establish a single location to dump the waste, a program he said has been very successful in Europe. “Right now we’ve got waste piling up at reactors all over the country,” he said. “Eventually, there ought to be a permanent repository.” Cheney foresees an additional 1,300 to 1,900 new power plants over the next 20 years to meet demand -- some of which could be nuclear plants -- along with a number of refineries to process oil.

Source: Interview with CNN’s John King , May 8, 2001

Energy plan focuses on production

Cheney called alternative fuels such as ethanol or solar power promising but still “years down the road.” He said the administration will push for drilling in Alaska’s ANWR. Cheney said telling Americans to do more with less is not enough. “Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy,” he said.
Source: USA Today, p. 1A , May 1, 2001

Fuel cells from propane are “a tremendous development”

Talking up alternative energy is classic Al Gore, but Dick Cheney took up the cause yesterday in Washington state, where environmental concerns could be an election key. Cheney received a briefing on fuel cells that produce electricity from natural gas or propane at a Spokane-area company which hopes to someday power homes and businesses with the cells. Cheney pronounced the technology, which company officials say doesn’t harm the environment, “a tremendous development for our entire nation.”
Source: Boston Globe, “Campaign Journal,” p. A24 , Oct 25, 2000

Member of Bush’s National Energy Policy Development Group.

Cheney is a member of Bush’s National Energy Policy Development Group:

    The National Energy Policy Development (NEPD) Group was directed by President Bush to “develop a national energy policy designed to… promote dependable, affordable, and environmentally sound production and distribution of energy for the future.”The National Energy Policy we propose follows three basic principles:
  1. The Policy is a long-term, comprehensive strategy. Our energy crisis has been years in the making, and will take years to put fully behind us.
  2. The Policy will advance new, environmentally friendly technologies to increase energy supplies and encourage cleaner, more efficient energy use.
  3. The Policy seeks to raise the living standards of the American people, recognizing that to do so our country must fully integrate its energy, environmental, and economic policies.

    Applying these principles, we urge action to meet five specific national goals.
  1. Modernize conservation: The best way of meeting this goal is to increase energy efficiency by applying new technology—raising productivity, reducing waste, and trimming costs.
  2. Modernize our energy infrastructure: To reduce the incidents of electricity blackouts, we must greatly enhance our ability to transmit electric power between geographic regions.
  3. Increase energy supplies: A primary goal is to add supply from diverse sources: domestic oil and gas via high-tech drilling; clean coal research; hydropower and nuclear power.
  4. Accelerate the protection and improvement of the environment: We do not accept the false choice between environmental protection and energy production. An integrated approach to policy can yield a cleaner environment, a stronger economy, and a sufficient supply of energy for our future.
  5. Increase our nation ’s energy security: We must prepare our nation for supply emergencies, and assist low-income Americans who are most vulnerable in times of supply disruption.
Source: National Energy Policy report 01-NEPD0 on May 2, 2001

Tax credits & more funding for renewable energy research.

Cheney adopted the National Energy Policy Development Group report:

Source: National Energy Policy report 01-NEPD1 on May 2, 2001

Open small fraction of ANWR for regulated production .

Cheney adopted the National Energy Policy Development Group report:

Source: National Energy Policy report 01-NEPD2 on May 2, 2001

Long-term energy stability avoids high-polluting emergencies.

Cheney adopted the National Energy Policy Development Group report:

We are all aware of past excesses in our use of the natural world and its resources. No one wishes to see them repeated. In the 21st century, the ethic of good stewardship is well established in American life and law. We do not accept the false choice between environmental protection and energy production. America is using more, and polluting less. The primary reason for that has been steady advances in the technology of locating, producing, and using energy.

One of the factors harming the environment today is the very lack of a comprehensive, long-term national energy policy. States confronting blackouts must take desperate measures, often at the expense of environmental standards, requesting waivers of environmental rules, and delaying the implementation of anti-pollution efforts. Shortfalls in electricity generating capacity and shortsighted policies have blocked construction of new, cleaner plants, leaving no choice but to rely on older, inefficient plants to meet demand. The increased use of emergency power sources, such as diesel generators, results in greater air pollution.

Source: National Energy Policy report 01-NEPD3 on May 2, 2001

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Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

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V.P.Joseph Biden
V.P.Dick Cheney
V.P.Al Gore
V.P.Dan Quayle
Sen.Bob Dole

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Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022