US Fossil Fuel Timeline


OPEC Embargo


OPEC places an embargo on the US to protest their policy towards the Arab-Israeli conflict. Oil prices quadruple.

US Nuclear Regulatory


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was formed to regulate and protect public health and safety.

Wind Energy


Federal involvement in wind energy development allows for advances in wind energy technology which are still used today.

President Cater

April 18 1977

President Carter delivers his famous speech regrading an imminent energy shortage and arguing that the country must make profound changes in the way it uses energy"

Three Mile Island

March 28, 1979

A nuclear accident on Three Mile Island cuased the faliure of one of the plants reactors. Although the accident was largely contorlled the risk of a massive nuclear accident was exposed.

Alternative Energy


The first large scale solar power and wind power operations were constructed in the United States.

Nuclear Engergy


Nuclear energy becomes the second largest source of electricity in the US, replacing hydro power.

Exxon Valdez Disaster

March 24, 1989

The largest oil spill in US waters occurs when a vessel carrying oil of the coast of Alaska struck a reef and spilled its massive amounts of cargo.

Hydrogen Power


Congress passes the Development of Hydrogen Power Act to accelerate efforts to develop hydrogen power research.



The US begins to import more petroleum than it produces.

Electric Cars


GM along with other automobile producers begin the release of electric cars.

Zero Emissions Coal Plant

Feb. 27, 2003

Cost-shared project between Department of Energy and industry to create the world's first coal-fired, zero emissions power plant.


Nov. 9, 2005

The US House prevents drilling for Oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This showed the governments devotion to at least minimal environmental protection at the cost of fossil fuels.

IPCC Report

Nov. 17, 2007

IPCC report concludes climate change is Happening and Is Mostly Human Caused

Kingston Ash Spill

Dec. 22, 2008

The earthen wall of a containment pond at Tennessee's Kingston Fossil Plant gave way. The breach released 1.3 million cubic meters of fly ash - a coal-combustion waste product captured and stored in wet form. Worst Coal Spill in US history.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Feb. 17, 2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes billions in energy investments, including grants and loan guarantees for renewable energy development, fossil fuel development, energy efficiency programs, energy storage technology, and electric grid modernization.

BP Oil Spill

Apr. 20, 2010

BP oil rig explodes causing the worst oil spill in US history in the Gulf of Mexico.

Clean Air Act Standard

Mar. 27, 2012

A new Clean Air Act Standard was put in place for new power plants offering further environmental protection.