A dead cause
Q: Republican leaders have built their energy policies around increased oil and gas extraction, dismissing environmental dangers. How should they respond to the Gulf oil spill if they want to preserve offshore drilling as a politically viable option?
An expansion of areas open to offshore drilling has almost certainly been destroyed by BP, and its pursuit for the next several years by Republicans or anyone else is pointless. The pursuit of additional natural petroleum in the United States must be onshore, in Alaska, in oil shale prospects in the Rockies, and in technological advances directed at increasing recovery from existing fields now considered exhausted.
A longer-range national goal must be a vast increase in the production of motor vehicle fuel from agricultural products, by far the most promising of which is algae, with a long-term potential of substituting for all of the US's imports from unfriendly or unstable sources.
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