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VIEWPOINT Energy policy lifted Japan in the 1980s BY A N T H O N Y J. A H E R N IN THE 1980s, U.S. politicians nervously watched Japan’s ascendance to world economic power status on the strength of trade, technology and smart use of energy to offset the island nation’s limited resources of crude oil, coal and natural gas. It was plain that Japan’s leadership had learned a lesson from the Arab oil crisis of 1973. They had developed a coherent energy policy that helped them jump ahead in manufacturing, GDP and trade. At the time, not many in Washington, D.C., realized that energy policy was one of the reasons Japan was forging to the economic forefront. While Western nations fretted about foreign oil dependency, the Japanese had developed a national approach to energy that exactly fitted their needs. They stockpiled oil, developed nuclear power plants, emphasized conservation and efficiency, integrated coal and natural gas generation and launched renewable projects. In short, they pioneered an “all-of- the-above” approach to energy decades before it became a mantra here. Why has developing U.S. energy policy been so difficult? We are blessed with fossil fuel supplies to last for hundreds of years. We once led the world in development of nuclear power. Our grid, much maligned as being old-fashioned because it was built in a non- computerized era, is still sturdy, reliable and much envied by other nations. Politicians from both parties have failed to achieve the keystone of American self-sufficiency — a coherent national energy plan — because they’ve been blown by the winds of changing public opinion and fear of voter backlash. What has developed is a piecemeal approach of starts and stops, often inflamed by misconceptions (the dangers of fossil fuels and nuclear power being good examples) and the influence of special interests. We’ve tried to pick winners and losers instead of integrating all of our plentiful energy resources. Combining domestic resources with sustainability, smart investment and research and development will allow the U.S. — once and for all — to advance its economic goals by having a national energy policy that works and penalizes no one. Shouldn’t this have been the goal all along? 2 COUNTRY LIVING • MAY 2013 Volume 55, No. 8 May 2013 Contact us: Anthony Ahern Steve Oden Rich Warren John Howley Chris Hall Bernice Mattison Nikki Heath Adam Specht Margie Wuebker Chip Gross Sandy Woolard Tim Dickes President & CEO Dir. of Comm. Managing Editor Comm. Manager Art & Prod. Manager Publications Coord. Graphic Artist Comm. Specialist Food Editor Outdoors Editor Advertising Advertising COUNTRY LIVING (ISSN 0747-0592) is the official publication of Ohio Rural Electric Co- operatives, Inc. With a paid circulation of 294,786, it is the monthly communication link between the rural elec tric cooperatives in Ohio and West Virginia and their members. Subscription price: $4.30 to $6.50 per year to co-op members; $12 per year to nonmem- bers. Nothing in this publication may be re- produced in any manner without specific written permission from Ohio Rural Electric Cooperatives, Inc. All rights reserved. Alliance for Audited Media Member National advertising representatives: NATIONAL COUNTRY MARKET, based at 611 S. Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78704 1-800-NCM-1181 The fact that a product is advertised in Country Living should not be taken as an endorsement. If you find an ad- vertisement misleading or a product unsatisfactory, please notify us or the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Section, 30 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215, or call 1-800-282-0515. Cooperative members — Please report any change of address to your local electric cooperative. Periodicals postage paid at Columbus, OH and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to editorial and advertising offices at: 6677 Busch Boulevard Columbus, OH 43229-1101 Telephone — 614-846-5757 Serving on the Ohio Rural Electric Cooperatives, Inc., Board of Trustees are George Brake, chairman; Dennis W. Schindler, vice chairman; Jack Schmidt, secretary/treasurer; Stephen Huff, Paul Berridge, Thomas McQuiston, Robert McCort, Donald McCracken, Jack L. Kitchel, Daniel McNaull, Robert E. Wise, Shirley J. Stutz, David Corbin, Barry Jolliff, Warren Taylor, James R. McConnell, Eu- gene Royer, Mitch Headley, John Saxton, Edward P. Sanders, Harold E. Cooper, Larry Weirich, Jeff Wilson and David P. Miller. Anthony J. Ahern, president; Kurt Helfrich, counsel.