Our polling last year found that a majority of Republicans now support clean energy because of issues like economic growth and national security; however, that wasn’t always the case.
Today we’d like to recognize President George H.W. Bush on his 94th birthday for the early role he played in getting conservatives—and the whole country—behind clean energy. By 2018 standards, his accomplishments in this area may not seem very important; yet the strong environmental and energy policy framework our country boasts today exists in large part because he helped blaze the trail.
Surprisingly, the American public was generally not very interested in domestic energy policy in the late 1980s and early 1990s when he took office. It was President Bush who first brought these issues to the nation’s attention, and he was particularly adept at balancing economic interests with environmental interests.
His administration’s Secretary of Energy, Admiral James Watkins, established a “Ten-Point Plan” to strengthen environmental protection at the United States Department of Energy (DOE) facilities for production, research, and testing, and President Bush also directed him to develop the nation’s first comprehensive national energy policy plan; several of the strategies first described in these plans remain in place today.
DOE also established the Office of Environmental Management under President Bush and Secretary Watkins.
His legislative accomplishments were also key to our transition to clean energy. President Bush helped pass the bipartisan Production Tax Credit and signed it into law, and every president since has renewed it in order to incentivize investment in clean energy resources like wind and solar. He also reauthorized Clean Air Act and signed the Oil Pollution Act.
President Bush played a key role in raising awareness about climate change. He helped create the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and negotiate the Kyoto Protocol to forge a worldwide commitment to control atmospheric pollution and reduce emissions.
If you would like to learn more about President Bush’s legacy, a great place to start is with a visit to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum in College Station, Texas.
President Bush is now the longest-lived U.S. President, and he is the first to reach age 94. Sadly, his wife of 73 years, Barbara, passed away in April of this year. They had six children together, including President George W. Bush, and their family includes 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
War hero. Member of Congress. Ambassador. Director of the CIA. Vice President and President. Elder Statesman. CRES would like to add “Clean Energy Champion” to the list of superlatives to describe this esteemed president. We celebrate his achievements and wish him a very happy birthday.