Editorial: Energy independence a non-partisan issue
The current energy crisis does not lend itself to good-news, bad-news jokes.
All of the news is bad, but it can get far worse if our elected leaders don't show some courage, vision and long-term resolve.
The first bit of bad news is this: Record-high oil prices will continue to climb, probably raising gas prices to current European levels of $8 to $10 a gallon. Not even drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and offshore will make any quick change in gasoline prices.
Now to the next piece of bad news: If we don't begin immediately to drill for oil in every possible domestic place, including ANWR and offshore as well as exploiting oil shale, conditions will get even worse.
Even if the U.S. continued its dependence on foreign oil, oil eventually will run out. Thus, we need to find every way possible to meet our energy needs in other ways from domestic resources.
That will require a carefully thought-out plan and decisive, consistent action. All of these are rare commodities in Washington.
Almost all major energy experts agree on the just-mentioned facts and the over-all solution. They differ only in the percentages of various energy alternatives it will take to supplant oil.
First, the next president - regardless of party - needs to set a goal and timetable to achieve national energy self-sufficiency. He has to give it the same bully-pulpit support that President John F. Kennedy gave the goal of landing on the moon.
Second, he needs to establish a blue-ribbon commission of energy experts to offer a plan for supplanting oil dependence with every possible alternative form, including solar, wind, natural gas, biofuels, hydrogen, nuclear, and anything else they can identify.
Finally, Congress has to stop all the partisan
posturing - no matter which party is in charge - and go to work.
This isn't about who wins the next election. This is about whether we can sustain our nation and our quality of life.