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Greater Abundance: Energy Production, Environmental Protection, and the Politics of Deregulation in the United States after the OAPEC Embargo

Camp, William Michael (2017)
Dissertation (313 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Crespino, Joseph
Committee Members: Allitt, Patrick ; Rogers, Thomas
Research Fields: American history; Energy
Keywords: energy policy; environmental regulation; political history
Program: Laney Graduate School, History
Permanent url: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/rwhkf

Abstract

Greater Abundance explores the intersection of energy production and environmental regulation in the United States after the OAPEC embargo in 1973. The years from 1969 to 1973 saw the passage of a number of laws meant to protect the environment from human destruction, and they enjoyed broad public popularity at first. However, the oil crisis of 1973, which caused lines and fistfights at gasoline stations, refocused Americans' attention on economic issues and alerted Americans to the dangers of relying on imported oil. As a drive to increase domestic production of energy gained momentum, it soon appeared that the new environmental regulations were inhibiting this initiative. Furthermore, other economic regulations such as price controls on oil appeared to be hindering the drive toward energy security, and they too drew criticism. A backlash against environmental and economic regulations helped inaugurate a bipartisan era of market-based thinking in American politics and discredited the idea that the federal government had a constructive role to play in addressing energy issues. This study connects political, labor, and environmental history to contribute to a growing body of literature on the decline of the New Deal and the rise of pro-market thinking in American politics.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Joke Told Too Many Times 1

Part I: Energy and Presidential Politics

Chapter 1: "A major national objective": Energy Policy under Nixon and Ford 18

Chapter 2: "Little bitty cars": The Department of Energy, Oil Decontrol, and the Anti-Conservation Backlash 52

Part II: Energy, Landscape, and Environment

Chapter 3: "Rich, black veins": The United Mine Workers, Railroad Deregulation, and the Political Economy of Coal 99

Chapter 4: "Wandering in the desert": The Clinch River Breeder Reactor Debate in Congress 148

Part III: Energy and the New Deal Legacy

Chapter 5: "Deliberately inflexible": Tellico Dam, Dickey Dam, and Endangered Species 195

Chapter 6: "Hit by inflation like everyone else": The Tennessee Valley Authority in the Era of the Market 241

Conclusion 287

Bibliography 294

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