We can't drill our way to energy independence

Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.thinks the "Road to energy independence goes through ANWR, Keystone" (March 11). I disagree. America has 2 percent of the world's oil reserves, and we use 20 percent of the worlds oil. So we could pump as fast as possible and what would we achieve? We would have some very happy politicians and gas customers for a few years. Once our oil was gone, the Middle East and Venezuela and Nigeria would have us in a real neckhold! And of course our children would be going off to war, losing their arms, legs and lives so we can have "cheap" oil. I don't call that cheap oil. To me having my grandsons come home damaged or not at all, just so that I can continue to drive my oversized SUV or pickup, is not cheap oil.

The politicians who would give us $2.50 a gallon oil for a short time would be retired and prospering with their huge pensions, their big bribes from their lobbyist friends and the other multi-million dollar retirement packages that all politicians seem to acquire. We would be back to $5 or $10 gas. But what would it matter to them, they would be able to afford it!

No, we need to achieve real energy independence. We can produce energy from an inexhaustible source, the sun, plus the wind, tides and geothermal energy. And doubtless there are many other sources of free or low cost energy that our brilliant scientists could develop if only our backward politicians would listen to them.

President Kennedy said in the early '60s "We will land a man on the Moon and bring him safely back to Earth before this decade is out." And we did! If we can do that, and I still find it hard to believe that we achieved such a feat, we can surely develop clean cheap sources of energy.

Can we not see that it is the oil, coal and gas companies that are bribing our politicians — the best politicians that money can buy — to keep them in business?

No, if we put our minds to it, we still have some of the best minds in the world, we can produce clean cheap energy. At least we should be trying. We went to the moon less than 10 years after setting that goal, how about setting a goal for producing clean cheap energy?

Meanwhile, remember that the average American uses double the energy of the average European! Why? Because we keep our house a lot hotter in the winter and a lot colder in the summer, we drive huge SUVs and pickup trucks for just one person, and we insist on leaving them running while we wait for our kids outside school, go into the 7-11 for our coffee and cigarettes and while waiting for our spouses who are shopping.

If we cut our energy use to equal what the average European uses while we are developing our new energy sources, we could cut our oil imports in half. Which might cut our import/export gap to zero and cut our national debt as we would not be sending billions abroad to buy oil that we would not need any more!

Then we can tell the Middle East to drink their oil and eat their sand.

So it is in our own hands to solve our import/export gap and our national debt problem. Just tell our politicians to get off their butts and do it.

David A. Liddle, Pasadena

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