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Energy Intervention After Desert Storm: Some Unfinished Tasks

Without fanfare, the U.S. government removed many intrusive regulations affecting oil and gas. Much further remains to be done. Regulation of environmental problems and public utilities remains deficient. Special attention is needed to the enthusiasm over the actual U.S. oil stockpiling program and proposed oil-import taxes. The arguments that oil is particularly insecure, that the insecurity produces severe macroeconomic damages, and that oil market policies are the best response are all dubious. In particular, design of such intervention is even more difficult than implementing traditional monetary and fiscal policy. International trade economics warns of the perils of taxing to create or offset monopoly. Stockpiling also is designed to offset the disincentives to private stockpiling -created by the tendency to impose price controls during crises. The fear of windfall profits that inspires price controls also discourages stockpile release. Stockpiling thus may not prove helpful. The U.S. establishes goals for its public lands more ambitious than can be attained with the budgets allocated for administration. Reversing the retreat from encouraging sales to the private sector could improve land use.

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Energy Specializations: Energy Security and Geopolitics – Geopolitics of Energy; Energy Security and Geopolitics – Energy Security

JEL Codes: Q41: Energy: Demand and Supply; Prices, Q40: Energy: General, Q35: Hydrocarbon Resources, Q37: Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation: Issues in International Trade, Q54: Climate; Natural Disasters and Their Management; Global Warming

Keywords: Energy intervention, US, Regulation, Energy policy

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol13-No4-1

Published in Volume 13, Number 4 of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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