03/25/04 — Untapped: U.S. has abundant energy resources

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Untapped: U.S. has abundant energy resources

There are predictions that gasoline prices could go to a national average of $2 this summer. Even higher in some areas.

No matter what the reasons or excuses — valid or concocted — might be, it’s bad news for all of us and for the national economy.

Most Americans feel the pinch of high prices particularly when they fill up at the gas stations. But the real effect extends far beyond that.

Virtually everything we use is affected by energy costs. Notice the great number of 18-wheelers on our highways. They are hauling goods to distributors and retailers across the state and nation. The goods they haul must, in the end, bear the additional cost of gasoline and diesel fuel.

Factories and businesses, air and seaborne commerce all feel the effect of higher energy costs. And these costs have to be passed on in the end to the consumer.

This means that the individuals and the families across the nation have less to spend on other items. And that lessening of buying power has a ripple effect across the manufacturing, wholesale and retail landscape.

The finger of blame points in many directions. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is a significant factor. Indeed, if OPEC even thinks aloud about restricting production, there is an instantaneous knee-jerk jump at the pump in America.

An unusually cold winter is mentioned as a factor. (What ever happened to global warming?)

Venezuela, a major supplier of oil to the United States, has had its production crippled by strikes.

Environmental restrictions, noble as they are, come at a considerable increase in energy production costs — which, of course, must be borne by the consumers.

The continuing problem is the country’s failure to become energy sufficient. We have the resources in abundance including in such places as Alaska and in oil deposits in the ocean floors.

A convincing case needs to be made to the public that these oil and gas deposits can be tapped without any serious threat to the environment. It already has been proven that oil can be taken from some areas of Alaska without ravaging the wilderness. And offshore oil wells have been functioning for years in the Gulf of Mexico.

For years we have heard the clamor for more dependence on wind and solar energy. But these sources, at best, can offer but a pittance of relief.

Until the nation is willing to tap into the great energy deposits available within our borders, there can be no freedom from foreign oil producers, and the high prices we have to pay.

Published in Editorials on March 25, 2004 12:18 PM