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Energy Independence

The United States has fallen prey to being a slave to foreign oil. There was a time many years ago when foreign oil was very inexpensive and those from whom we purchased it were not at that time blowing up themselves and others for "religious" reasons. Today we are well on our way to importing 75 percent of the oil we consume. Currently, the United States produces only 10 percent of all of the oil produced in the world, yet we consume 25 percent of all of the oil produced in the world. Such a situation leaves us vulnerable economically and militarily. Global oil supplies from Russia and OPEC have been frequently disrupted because of instability and "conflict." In the Persian Gulf, wars have stopped production in one or more countries in each of the past three decades. Oil production from Iran nose-dived in the aftermath of the 1979 revolution. Moreover, insurgency, political instability, and strikes have periodically brought oil production to a halt in Nigeria and Venezuela.

 Rightly so, many people believe that payments for imported oil are being used to finance terrorist activity against the U.S. Governments of some countries openly hostile to the United States, such as Iran and Venezuela, rely on oil exports for most of their income. A few oil exporters have threatened U.S. interests. Between 1980 and 1990, Iraq invaded two of its neighbors, Iran and Kuwait. Iran is responsible for terrorist attacks on U.S. installations. It has financed the activities of Hezbollah, and supported violent militias and insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now it is even engaged in a nuclear program that is likely to produce enough enriched uranium to manufacture nuclear weapons. It stands to reason that if we imported less oil from these countries they would have less money to use to carry out threats against us. Renewable fuel (biofuel) such as corn-based ethanol is not the answer. Growing corn for food is far more advantageous and economically sensible than growing corn for fuel. This has resulted in increased prices for grains in the world market. The net energy benefit of corn-based ethanol is low because so much energy is used to fertilize, harvest, transport, and then convert the corn into fuel.

The answer to our energy crisis is multi-faceted. Immediately, individually and collectively, we must begin to conserve fuel. We must utilize OUR natural resources such as coal, and natural gas. Also we must invest in technologies that improve nuclear, wind, and solar power, as well as make cost-effective biofuels.


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