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Revisiting the Charter of the U.S. Department of Energy (reasons to abolish the agency)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 4, 2014

Upon a Congressional declaration of “the public interest” and to “promote the general welfare,” the Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977 centralized the federal government’s energy functions. The new agency was premised on five beliefs:

  • an imminent exhaustion of oil and gas;
  • problematic oil-import dependence;
  • the efficacy of central planning;
  • the need to commercialize renewable energy; and
  • conservationism.

DOE’s rationale of market failure and government success has flipped. Today, it is government failure and market success. Oil and gas are more abundant now than 37 years ago; oil imports are decreasing to levels thought impossible just a decade ago; politically correct renewable energy remains uneconomic (note the wind industry’s dogged pursuit of the production tax credit); and mandated conservation has present costs and speculative future benefits (hence the coercion).…