Oil: Our National Crisis

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In our national energy crisis denial, we have lost two decades of opportunity for developing viable alternative energy solutions. Some estimate that we have invested a trillion dollars in oil production over the past century. We would need to invest similar amounts in solar, wind, hydrogen and biodiesel technologies, among others, if we are to successfully change our dependence upon oil. The newest idea coming from the Bush administration seems to be to increase nuclear power. In these post 9/11 days, it ignores the possibility that enriched uranium might be stolen by terrorists.

Maybe the folks in Washington, D.C. haven’t noticed the astronomical rise in oil prices over the past six months since they aren’t having to pay to fill up the gas tanks of their government-issued cars, but the rest of us sure are. You know it’s bad when we’re delighted to find regular gas at $2.07 a gallon. 

While many Americans are struggling to pay these prices so that they can drive to work, many of the oil companies are experiencing record profits. After the oil company mega-mergers of a decade ago, many have so cut costs, increased returns and raised profits that they have more money than they can spend. Both Democrats and Republican administrations of the past 20 years are partially to blame for the mess we’re in.

Our energy policy has not changed much in that time, with the possible exception of President Jimmy Carter wearing a sweater and encouraging Americans to turn down their thermostats during his televised talks to the nation which was experiencing long lines at gas stations during that gasoline crisis. 

But his warning that we must face the prospect of changing our basic ways of living may The newest idea coming from the Bush administration seems to be to increase nuclear power. This just ignores the fact that we haven’t figured out what to do with the spent nuclear rods from current nuclear power plants, which will stay radioactive for tens of thousands of years.
 

It ignores the dangers of such power plants—I live less than two hours from the plant which two years ago was closed down by the federal government after a near-accident—In these post 9/11 days, it ignores the possibility that enriched uranium might be stolen by terrorists. In our national energy crisis denial, we have lost two decades of opportunity for developing viable alternative energy solutions. 

Some estimate that we have invested a trillion dollars in oil production over the past century. We would need to invest similar amounts in solar, wind, hydrogen and biodiesel technologies, among others, if we are to successfully change our dependence upon oil. This is a national security issue right up there with terrorism and yet our government seems unable to offer any fresh vision of how to address it.
 

It has enormous implications for our national economy and  for our environment and thus, for the future of our children and grandchildren.  Would that the folks in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Washington</st1:State></st1:place> would begin to take it seriously.  Maybe the high prices at gas pumps will force Americans to ask some really difficult questions of ourselves and of our elected officials.  Maybe, just maybe.   <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

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