It’s time to be­come oil in­de­pen­dent . . .

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor -

The ar­ti­cle (“Cuba drills for oil off Florida,” July 31 edi­tion) about Cuba drilling for oil in off­shore ar­eas that abut U.S. coastal wa­ters should con­cern Amer­i­cans. Who knows whether or not oil will be si­phoned off U.S. un­der­ground pools? In view of the fact that high gas prices af­fect ev­ery­one and ev­ery in­dus­try in the coun­try, off­shore drilling needs to be in­creased. Yes, nu­clear plants for pro­duc­ing elec­tric­ity can also be re­vis­ited. France can do it. Why can’t the United States?

The ques­tion calls to mind a rec­ol­lec­tion I have of the sec­re­tary of En­ergy for the United States ap­pear­ing on television say­ing there is noth­ing he can do about the high gas prices. Well, I hap­pen to re­mem­ber May 25, 1961, when Pres­i­dent Kennedy stood up and said, “We will land a man on the moon in this decade.” He was proved right in 1969, when Neil Arm­strong took “one gi­ant leap for mankind.”

If Mr. Kennedy had the fore­sight to pre­dict such a prodi­gious achieve­ment, why can’t Pres­i­dent Bush set a five or 10-year goal for this great coun­try to be­come oil in­de­pen­dent and once again ex­port oil?

I humbly sug­gest that it is high time to ig­nore the en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists and the Sierra Club, by­pass them and be­gin to drill in the Arc­tic Na­tional Wildlife Refuge. Drilling on the North Slope has proved that per­mafrost and wildlife are not of­fended by the in­tru­sion. Peo­ple liv­ing in Alaska fa­vor it. Since there is also a re­fin­ing prob­lem, the NIMBY peo­ple should be of­fered some con­sid­er­a­tion. It that doesn’t work, build re­finer­ies where few peo­ple live.

This coun­try has all the re­sources and the skills re­quired to ex­ploit this mini-cri­sis, but the sec­re­tary of En­ergy says he’s sorry but he can’t do any­thing. We have the nat­u­ral re­sources, coal, oil shale and corn to make ethanol. We have the in­dus­tries that can drill for the oil. We have the skills nec­es­sary to build re­finer­ies. Why not set a goal of be­com­ing oil in­de­pen­dent and do it in five or 10 years? If Congress would get se­ri­ous about this re­pug­nant sit­u­a­tion, they could of­fer tax breaks to com­pa­nies per­form­ing the work nec­es­sary to achieve the goal.

It seems to me that the for­eign coun­tries ben­e­fit­ing from the high prices don’t like us any­way. So it would be ad­vis­able to set and achieve a goal that will oblit­er­ate the dis­taste­ful de­pen­dence we have on the oil ex­port­ing na­tions. In­stead of be­ing ex­ploited by world­wide car­tels, it would be nice to ex­ploit our cre­ativ­ity.

Does Amer­ica still have the “can do” at­ti­tude? I’m con­fi­dent that Amer­ica does, but I’m not sure that Congress does. Robert A. Kel­low Whit­ing, New Jer­sey

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