Daily Editorial: Energy errors | VailDaily.com

Daily Editorial: Energy errors

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

The new director of the Bush administration’s Bureau of Land Management says drilling for oil and gas will continue at an aggressive pace in the West.

Under the land bureau’s control are vast tracts of Western land and the minerals underneath. Energy companies are tapping the land in what the agency’s lame duck boss, Jim Caswell, sees as a way to ease our addiction to foreign fuel.

The policy is flawed, and the harm oil rigs, well pads and rural roads are doing to the pristine West and its wildlife is not the main reason. Even the most liberal among us might support the ransacking of a little elk habitat if this Western drilling really was going to free us from relying on Middle Eastern regimes that, along with keeping us hooked on their oil, support terrorism against the free world.

The gas in the West won’t power us through this century, nor will it, no matter how aggressively we drill, free us from our destructive dependence.

The Western drilling binge is the shortest of short-term solutions. And even if we had the technology to tap the West’s abundant oil shale, there are still greenhouse gases, air pollution and climate change that come with fossil fuels.

This administration should’ve have spent its terms trying to make some serious progress on alternative energy, and President Bush should have used the stature of his office to encourage Americans to conserve.

In the months after Sept. 11, Americans were willing to sacrifice and many of us probably would have used less Middle Eastern oil had our commander-in-chief made the connection between Ground Zero and our voracious fuel consumption.

Energy will be an increasing crisis for the next several presidents. We hope our future leaders will focus on the long-term solutions of fuel cells and solar power rather than being satisfied with the instant gratification of squeezing the last drops of oil out of the Earth.

” Matt Zalaznick for the Editorial Board

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