Feb 272002

Many of us have seen those chilling commercials from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (the first of which ran during the Super Bowl) that allege if you purchase illegal drugs, you may be aiding a terrorist. Terrorists’ money for AK-47s, fertilizer and other weapons often comes from the sale of narcotics.

I wouldn’t be surprised if it also came from oil.

Seventy percent of the oil exported by Iraq goes to the United States. It wouldn’t shock me, for instance, if Saddam uses some of that 70 percent profit for ignoble purposes, such as the creation and study of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.

So a logical conclusion would be that if you buy gas, you might be aiding a terrorist.

No one would deny that this country is far too dependent on foreign sources of oil. Both parties agree there; the main discrepancy lies in the method by which to decrease our dependence.

“This dependence on foreign oil is a matter of national security,” President Bush reiterated Tuesday. “Let’s face it – sometimes we get oil from countries that don’t like us.”

I’m a strong advocate of research and development of new, Earth-friendly technologies such as hybrid cars and natural gas vehicles.

But I’m also a pragmatist – the Republican majority in the House and the powerful United Auto Workers union may not let those technologies spread quickly, at least not in the near future. And we need to become more self-sufficient in the damn near future.

The Senate this week took up debate on a comprehensive energy policy bill, the first of its kind for the nation. The bill is already fraught with political posturing and controversy, especially in light of the General Accounting Office’s recent lawsuit against the White House for its refusal to release energy meeting documents and the unfolding of the Enron mess. The Senate likely won’t go to conference with the House any time soon on this, and rest assured it won’t land on the president’s desk soon, either.

Among the concerns in formulating energy policy is whether or not we should drill for oil in the Alaskan Wildlife National Refuge, known as ANWR.

I don’t know that it should be ruled out.

Many Americans and CSU students like myself would oppose drilling in ANWR under normal circumstances. But these are most certainly not normal circumstances, and I oppose terrorism more strongly.

If we have to disrupt the environment a little bit for a couple of years, so be it, if it means we’ll be safe. I’m not a biologist or ecologist, but the new proposal released by the White House on Tuesday seems reasonable, and I don’t think it would bode extinction for any Alaskan wildlife or trees.

Sen. John Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts and possible presidential candidate, said Tuesday, “You can’t drill your way out of the problem … and you don’t get independent by drilling in Alaska.”

While that’s true, I lean more towards Sen. Frank Murkowski’s acknowledgement that it won’t eliminate our use of oil from the axis of evil, but, “You’re going to reduce your rate of dependence on foreign oil. Why get it from some unstable source?”

Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska and the ranking member on the Senate Energy Committee, is a strong advocate of Alaskan drilling.

We’ll work in the meantime to develop alternatives to fuel technology so we can gradually wean ourselves off oil altogether. But that will take time, a precious commodity we lack in the war on terror.

This is not merely a call to drill in Alaska, so hold the hate mail. If there are other options or areas for oil acquisition, they ought to be looked at first.

But those options are few and far-between, if not impossible right now, and all I’m suggesting is that drilling in ANWR not be entirely rejected as a means to reducing our reliance on Middle Eastern oil.

Becky is a senior studying journalism and history.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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