The exploitation of energy sources has been an essential ingredient to process of economic growth in United States. But nation's enviable abundance of natural resources has stalled serious consideration of consequences of and development of energy. Endowed with plentiful domestic fuels and with access to foreign sources, its citizens have expected their energy supplies to last forever. By ignoring costs of extracting and processing energy over years, market price has remained artificially low. But in long run, abundance had a counterpart in squandering of resources and their inefficient use. The United States has been one of most wasteful societies precisely because it also was one of most affluent. An unabashed faith in abundance and belief that energy was a commodity to meet ends of economic growth guided national energy policy, especially before turn of century. That pro-exploitation perspective also was grounded in notion that energy development was essentially a private enterprise. Beginning in late nineteenth century, emerging conservation movement began to modify pro-exploitation view, and wise use of resources came to be perceived as necessary for sustained economic growth. Environmental protection received little attention, however, and government regulatory policies tended to be industry-specific rather than broad in scope. While wise use programs attempted to curb rampant squandering of resources, conservation policies of early and mid-twentieth century also challenged energy development as a private enterprise. The debate over public versus private control and development of resources raised serious questions about future role of government in formulation of energy policy. ' With rise of movement in 1960s and fear of energy scarcities in 1970s a major critique of pro-exploitation view took place. The convergence of movement and energy crisis sparked a debate over what some scholars called the energyenvironmental-balance issue-the question of whether energy needs and goals were compatible. Support for wise use was changing to a broader concern for environmental quality.

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