This is a transcription of this speech made for the convenience of readers and researchers. A copy of the text of this speech exists in the Senate Speech file of the John F. Kennedy Pre-Presidential Papers here at the John F. Kennedy Library.
The time has come to put some common sense and consistency into the way this country handles its vital fuel supplies.
The time has come for the Federal Government to adopt a National Fuels Policy -- a concrete set of plans and principles to restore fair play and prosperity to our hard-hit, neglected fuels industries. President Kennedy of the UMW -- (no relation, but a great leader and friend) -- has eloquently set forth the reasons for such a policy -- he has told of the great benefits it would bring to the coal industry -- and I endorse his call in full.
The Congress should adopt such a policy -- and adopt it now -- at this session. The President should take the lead in its promulgation -- now -- before he leaves office. But if the Congress does not act -- and if the President will not act -- then that action must be taken next year by a Democratic President -- a President who is willing to take the lead -- a President who is willing to fight for a better, stronger American nation. And I think we can have and will have a Democratic President in 1961.
When that President enters the White House next January -- when he sits down at that lovely desk, after all the pomp and ceremony is over -- no problem will more urgently demand his attention than the problems of our fuels industries -- and the coal industry in particular. If he is to meet those problems effectively -- if his decisions are to weigh every factor and weigh them equitably -- that President will need a National Fuels Policy.
How else can he deal with the inconsistencies, the uneven regulations, the conflicting principles, the changing standards which the Federal Government and its agencies have been using in this area? How else can he reconcile the demands of those seeking to import more fuel from abroad while a major segment of the coal industry is in distress -- those seeking to invest tax dollars in new expansive fuel sources when vast fields of coal are untapped and mines are closed -- those dumping one kind of fuel in a wasteful, costly manner at the expense of both consumers and competitors?
There is no single, comprehensive, nationwide policy to deal with these and other matters today. There are dozens of policies, dozens of different laws and regulations and rate schedules. A national policy must end this. In the creation and execution of such a policy, foreign import requirements must be considered -- but so must the requirements of domestic industries. The rights of producers must be taken into account -- but so must the rights of consumers. A fair schedule of freight rates for coal to ship it out of here is just as important as fair rates for natural gas pipelines.
No single industry -- no segment of any industry -- should be singled out for any special treatment. Our objective is a stronger, better America-- a prosperous America -- using all its resources and all its manpower in its competition with an enemy that grows stronger every day.
Such a policy can mean new hope for our neglected coal industry -- new jobs for the unemployed miners -- new hope for West Virginia. That is our goal -- and that goal is my personal pledge to you.