A Free-Market Energy Blog

FDR’s New Deal with Energy: Part V (Rural Electrification)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 15, 2019

“The private sector’s push for rural electrification would be forgotten as electrifying the countryside became a political issue during the New Deal, specifically with the creation of the Rural Electrification Administration in 1935.”

– Robert Bradley, Edison to Enron: Energy Markets and Political Strategies (2011), p. 165.

“Next to their ability to pump water mechanistically, small wind turbines are best known for their ability to generate power at remote homesteads…. During the 1930s, when only 10% of U.S. farms were served by central-station power, literally hundreds of thousands of [“home light plants”] were in use on the Great Plains…. [This industry] collapsed quickly after the introduction of electricity by the Rural Electrification Administration during the 1930s.”

– Paul Gipe. Wind Energy Comes of Age (1995), pp. 125, 131.

The New Deal’s policies toward oil and coal in the 1933–39 era were hardly succeeded from anyone’s perspective.

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FDR’s New Deal with Energy: Part IV (Coal Code)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 14, 2019

“Bitter conflicts over wage differentials, a hodgepodge of subdivisional judgments regarding the proper price of coal, blatant disregard for the code proscription against selling under a fair market price, and the widespread disregard of the other injunctions against unfair trade practices produced a chaotic price structure….”

“Each price classification included several individual pries based upon the physical structure, chemical analysis, and use-value of a specific type of coal, thus generating a number of prices–at least 400,000–far beyond the ability of a decentralized code to administer.”

“The fragile structure of the coal code buckled under the weight of inordinate administrative complexity and the persistent assaults of critics within and without the industry.”

 – John Clark, Energy and the Federal Government: Fossil Fuel Policies, 1900–1946. University of Illinois Press: 1987,  pp. 266–27.

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FDR’s New Deal with Energy: Part III (oil retailing)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 10, 2019

“Despite over 400 prosecutions on over 1,800 reported infractions, effective enforcement for service stations was never achieved. For every disputed violation there was a hundred more, and federal judges were as inclined to dismiss code violations as they were to side with the government.”

“[One case] concerned the Babe Ruth Contest held by Jersey Standard in 18 states. With extensive advertising featuring Ruth himself, coupons were dispensed at Esso stations redeemable by children 18 and under for free baseball equipment and grand prizes of a trip to Yankee spring training. Although highly popular with motorists, federal authorities asked Jersey to drop the campaign. The company refused, and a suit was filed on January 15, 1934, to enjoin the contest as in violation of rules 16 and 17 of the NRA code.

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FDR’s New Deal with Energy: Part II (oil refining)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 9, 2019
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FDR’s New Deal with Energy: Part I (oil exploration & production)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 8, 2019
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Energy & Environmental Newsletter: January 7, 2019

By -- January 7, 2019
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Joe Romm: UAH Temperature Update (Sept. 2017 vs. December 2018)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 4, 2019
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Plant Vogtle: More Bad News (Georgia Power’s philosophic fraud, imprudence)

By Jim Clarkson -- January 3, 2019
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‘Sustainable’ Fuels Unlikely to Replace Hydrocarbons for Air Travel

By Steve Goreham -- January 2, 2019
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A Message for the New Year (from Marian Tupy at HumanProgress)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- December 31, 2018
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