PS 3480, Environmental Politics, October 10, 2012
How Does the United States Govern Energy?
1. Energy in the United States - an overview
The DSP and prosperity require energy -
but coal, oil, and nuclear power have had extensive environmental costs
Energy and electricity basics
Electricity is governed by state public utility commissions and by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
The "smart grid"
2. The Politics of Energy
The politics of energy
3. The Politics of Coal
Large amounts are located in a minority of eastern and Rocky Mountain states.
Extraction requires mining - transport requires lots of effort because it is heavy.
Prices are much more stable than oil
Producers are more concentrated today
Consumers tend to be large organizations
4. The Politics of Oil
· Oil in American economy and culture
Large amounts in a few states
Extraction requires drilling - and can create a terrible collective action problem
· Prices have been very volatile The central problem for the industry:
How to control production and prices after a new pool is discovered
· Solution 1: The Large Corporation
The Standard Oil Company and the Governing of Oil
The History of the Standard Oil Company by Ida Tarbell, 1904
· Solution 2: Government Regulation
The Texas Railroad Commission
· OPEC, the Oil Crises of the 1970s and the environmental agenda