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O'Leary speaks out

On the eve of her departure, outgoing Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary said a few things she apparently feels strongly about. Power is so under-priced in America, the country will not be serious about conservation or energy independence until the price goes up or there is another energy shock, she said. "The price of energy is artificially less in the United States," she continued, in an interview with the New York Times published on January 20, the day of President Bill Clinton's inauguration. And there is no political will to raise prices, she added. "We need a wake-up call and I know for a fact that doesn't come from the Energy Secretary wandering the land and saying what needs to be done, because it's not nearly as dramatic as a price shock or some other dislocation." O'Leary also warned bitterly that no future energy secretary will undertake trade missions to foreign governments because of the flak she caught for her trips. As a result, she predicted, America's competitors will march into countries that want new technology or services and "go laughing all the way to the next meeting with the minister." Clinton, after asking her to leave her post, has nominated former Secretary of Transportation Federico Peña (see story page 22).

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