desmoinesregister article - Every energy option must be exploited

Fred L. Dorr wrote:
Critics of domestically produced alternative-energy strategies often choose a narrow focus when challenging the viability of those sources: the intermittent nature of wind and the cost of developing new electric transmission lines to support wind farms; ethanol and biodiesel relying on subsidies and requiring a retail distribution system not yet wholly in place; solar and hydrogen not being commercially viable, etc.

Then there are the food versus fuel and water quality and sufficiency issues. Finally, opponents pick one or the other of the several alternative-energy sources and claim it is not enough to really matter in weaning our country of its addiction to foreign oil.

A larger perspective requires consideration of the cost and security threat of continuing down our current path.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy's February 2008 oil-import data, our country is importing, from five countries alone, a total of 6.7 million barrels of oil a day. At $100 per barrel, those five countries - Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Nigeria and Venezuela - are recipients of a wealth transfer from the United States amounting to $670 million per day. Monthly calculations are even more staggering - $20 billion U.S. dollars are being paid every 30 days to those five oil-exporting nations.

Meanwhile policy makers, industry leaders, scientists and government officials get wrapped up in arguing over energy conservation, auto-engine efficiencies and federal and state tax policies supporting various forms of energy production.

The energy solution for this country, or at least a significant portion of it, requires movement on all fronts. If you add the defense cost of maintaining a military presence in the Middle East to our monthly export of petro-dollars, there are billions of reasons why it is important to even more fully embrace domestically produced alternative-energy sources.

Consider that Abu Dhabi is now recognized as the richest city in the world. That emirate's 420,000 citizens, who sit on one tenth of the planet's oil, are reportedly worth more than $17 million apiece.

While we bicker among ourselves over which energy solution is optimal, our oil-trading partners are awash in our cash. Imagine the jobs, economic stimulus and community financial support that money would generate if it stayed home.

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