The oil game

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After reading Long Island Pine Barrens Society Executive Director Richard Amper’s letter in the May 1 edition of The Southampton Press about Earth Day [“Truly Earth Day,”], it seemed proper to see how far we have come since that first celebration so many years ago.

The United States and Americans are now victims of the environment. This is the same nation that built bridges to span waterways, factories to manufacture products to improve the standard of living, and defended nations from onslaught by ruthless dictators. Now we are being encouraged to lower our standard of living.

Before you write this letter off as just another right-winger defending the status quo, let me point out a fact or two:

1. Those fluorescent bulbs we’re being forced to buy in 2012 contain mercury and require disposal as a hazardous waste. A garden variety standard light bulb poses no threat to the environment.

2. The United States has tremendous oil reserves in Alaska and even in Pennsylvania. This nation could easily free itself from being held hostage by Middle East politics if it so chose.

3. The United States has a vast amount of coal. This coal can be made into synthetic oil to replace our dependence on foreign oil and, for that matter, stop the American consumer from being manipulated by speculators in oil futures.

So the question becomes one of why we sit idly by as the United States becomes a victim of its environment. As another writer pointed out a few weeks ago in this newspaper [“The green monster,” Letters, April 17], we have been sold on the idea that manmade global warming is a serious threat. There are scientists on both sides of the question.

The United States of America runs on oil. The slowing economy can be directly tied to the price of a gallon of gasoline or home heating oil. In plain English, we have stopped thinking of America first and how to best protect her and her citizens’ interests. Four dollars a gallon gasoline is not in our national interest.

Some will argue that synthetic oil will result in carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere, and while carbon that already exists will be released, it is equally true that we have the technology already on hand to deal with the problem. In fact, this technology is renewable and as green as you can get: trees. New York City recently planted hundreds of trees along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to help air samples taken along the highway meet federal standards.

Of equal importance is that the technology to produce synthetic oil already exists and can be brought to market relatively quickly. Others will say that we should not be drilling for oil offshore since the rigs would be unsightly—and that much is true. Oil rigs do not compete well with the Manhattan skyline for beauty. Then again, given that they will be miles offshore, it is doubtful anyone along Dune Road will see them. Since China will be drilling for oil off Cuba, it only makes sense that we drill for oil in this hemisphere as well.

It has been estimated that having an energy policy that called for nuclear power to generate electricity, synthetic oil from coal and drilling for oil within our borders will not only make this country energy independent, it will protect this country from the vagaries of Middle Eastern politics and speculators in oil futures.

Think about that the next time you spend almost $4 a gallon for gasoline.

BRUCE TRIAEast Quogue

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