Thursday, September 29, 2005

President Bush Directs Executive Departments and Agencies to Conserve Energy, including Carpool, Telecommute, and Transit

President Bush sent a memo to heads of executive departments and agencies that included the following, "All agencies should conserve fuel so we can reduce overall demand and allow extra supplies to be directed towards the hurricane relief effort. In particular[emphasis added], agencies should temporarily curtail non-essential travel and other activities that use gasoline or diesel fuel, and encourage employees to carpool, telecommute, and use public transportation to reduce fuel use."

Furthermore, agencies have to report back through the Secretary of Energy, within 30 days, on the fuel conservation actions taken.

Will the agencies do anything new related to commuting options, especially OUTSIDE the National Capital Region? Most of the commute benefit programs are aimed only to federal agencies "within the Beltway".

Will it be smoke and mirrors? Reporting what is already being done?

At the same time, will TDM agencies use this memo to open doors/enhance relationships with federal agencies in their areas?

I guess we'll see in 30 days.


UB said...

Of course, it gets even better when you see the quote of asking Americans to reduce non-essential trips because "that would be helpful". Which makes me question whether the Bush Administration is just trying to make a short-term price impact rather than a longer-term market impact.

It seems to me that Congress has a better handle on this issue, especially with the energy security act that has involved ACT participation. I would not be looking for much out of the executive branch right now.

Tad said...

The President's message is reminiscent of several former Presidents' messages. President Nixon called for conservation in light of the 1973 oil embargo, President Carter called for conservation in light of the 1979 fuel shortages, and President Roosevelt called for conservation (of rubber)in light of World War II. Also, recall the former FHWA Administrator, when asked about his views of conservation, referred to his pride in Texas and said "Texas did not conserve its way to greatness."

With talk of emergency money and possibly other federal agencies stepping into commute-related services, this has the opportunity to create a spike in involvement, multiple leaders leading on different elements, creation of new local services, etc.

Don't expect the conservation message to last very long. Don't expect those with heightened interest to stay on point. Don't expect long term commitments to come from this. Do expect emergency planning to take on a new flavor and there is opportunity there.

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