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Rick Edmund
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Rick Edmund

Rick Edmund is a United Methodist church pastor in Maryland. He resides on Smith Island, which has been impacted by rising sea-level and in 2007 testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment about climate change and the Chesapeake Bay.

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Oil independence

In 1973, I was working at a Gulf Oil station in Leader Heights, just south of York, Penn. While there, OPEC initiated an embargo on their oil to protest the U.S. support of Israel, and this drove prices of gasoline above $1 per gallon. The pumps at this station didn't register above 99.9 cents, so the owner showed the price for a half gallon which made the pump amount half of what we needed to collect. Also the car's inspection sticker had to be odd or even to coincide with the day of the month. The driver needed to wait about 20 minutes to get gas and then could only receive $2 worth. Needless to say, there was confusion and even some anger over getting and paying for this fuel.

Unfortunately, since that time our dependence on foreign oil has increased with each president, although each has urged that we depend less on oil from abroad. I believe in my gas pump recollection there is a valuable lesson that applies to our current situation. That lesson would be that foreign oil is unpredictable and costs us more than the price. When those pumps were manufactured, no one apparently thought that gas would go over 99.9 cents per gallon in the near future. Oil-producing countries can set prices or supply which will affect the price at the pump. A less obvious result is that we are funding profits to these countries, several of which are connected to anti-American causes, including terrorism.

It is unrealistic for us to wean ourselves off of oil, whether foreign or domestic, in the foreseeable future. Oil and coal both involve dangerous occupations in order to move them from the ground to the end use, but right now they meet needs that solar, wind, and other energy sources can't provide. Unless we want to continue to depend on foreign sources of oil, we need to have drilling in places which are difficult to reach and environmentally sensitive, whether on land or water. If we had started the efforts that are underway now 37 years ago, we could well have more options on the table for energy independence. What that realization should do is to urge us to act now on an energy bill which will free us from those restraints brought on from depending on sources outside of the U.S. for energy, and to domestically depend more on energy sources which are less risky to workers and the environment and are renewable.

By Rick Edmund  |  May 10, 2010; 11:27 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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