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Nixon’s June 1971 ‘Clean Energy’ Speech

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 2, 2023

June 4, 1971, message to Congress by President Nixon, “A Program to Insure an Adequate Supply of Clean Energy in the Future.” Nixon would later identify this as “the first message on energy policies ever submitted by an American President.”[1]

[1]Office of the President, Executive Energy Documents (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1978), p. 14.

Summarized Alice Buck:

President Richard Nixon presented his original plan for an energy agency in his first energy message to Congress in June 1971. Citing the “brownouts” which had occurred in recent months, the natural gas shortages, increasing fuel prices, and the lack of an integrated national energy policy, the President proposed that all major energy programs be consolidated in a new Department of Natural Resources. Two years later, in June 1973, he again urged Congress to take action on his energy legislation. Modifying his original proposal in order to place greater emphasis on policy and management, Nixon called for a Department of Energy and Natural Resources, and also asked for two additional agencies to replace the existing Atomic Energy Commission. An Energy Research and Development Administration would be responsible for developing fossil fuels, nuclear power, and potential new forms of energy, while the five-member organization of the Atomic Energy Commission, plus its licensing and regulatory functions, would be transferred to a separate and renamed Nuclear Energy Commission.

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