An end to oil dependence is a pipeline to peace

I hope President Bush reads Michael J. Mazarr's opinion article ("Terrorism, the energy trap, and the way out," Oct. 23). It may be naive to believe we could reach such an energy goal in the near future, but developing renewable energy to ultimately replace oil is a challenge our nation must accept. The end result will be one of unimaginable benefit for our country and for the world.

Ron Charles Sr.

Andover, N.H.

Michael Mazarr's article hits the nail right on the head. We have known for 30 years that oil is the weak link in our national security armor. Yet for those 30 years, our government has shown more interest in protecting oil-company profits than in seriously protecting national security by securing our sources of energy. It is time we put America's needs above those of a few companies and highly paid lobbyists. Fuel cells, solar energy, and lipid fuels may not immediately free us from dependence on Middle East oil, but they will provide a valuable cushion, should there be a disruption in flow.

Michael S. Frost

Sound Beach, N.Y.

I do not understand the past or present administrations' reluctance to get on board with supporting alternative energy sources. If we had been subsidizing the industries that create solar energy for the past 10 to 20 years, we would be in a position to offset our reliance on imported oil. We subsidize drug companies for research and development, and do not require these subsidies to be paid back - even after the drug companies make billions. We stand to gain far more by subsidizing companies that will lead us away from our dependence on foreign oil. Automobile and oil lobbies will not be happy, but their goals are in direct conflict with America's goals, and it's time to start facing that fact.

John Ardila

Round Rock, Texas

Your otherwise-excellent article, "Public feels urge to act - but how?" (Oct. 16), omitted one crucial and obvious strategy all Americans must consider in these difficult days: reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. I fear continued silence from the administration in this regard, as our president suggests we simply spend and travel our way out of this forest of problems. A wise, brave, and far-sighted president would recognize our addiction to oil, and exhort us to do what we can to conserve every drop. In the meantime, we'll have to do it ourselves.

Miles Epstein

Portland, Maine

The solution to our involvement in the Middle East is to become independent of Middle East oil. If we don't need their oil, we won't have to offend Islamic states with our presence in Saudi Arabia. To become independent, we must scrap environmental restrictions on oil, coal, and natural-gas exploration, development, and production. These regulations strangle oil exploration off our coasts, in the Alaskan wilderness, and elsewhere. Let's ask ourselves what is more important: protecting Arctic wastelands from possible pollution (an occasional, quickly repaired spill), or independence from nations that terrorize us?

John McKay

Staten Island, N.Y.

One policy that would have an immediate effect not just on energy imports but also on air quality and traffic congestion, would be to permit high-efficiency vehicles to use car-pool lanes even with a single occupant. This would encourage people to switch from huge gas guzzlers to small, energy-efficient cars, and would thus reduce energy imports and air pollution, make traffic smoother, and stimulate investment in energy-efficient technology. The only losers? Car companies that don't offer the new vehicles!

Doug McLaren


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