- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 4, 2000

While Al Gore is trying to convince senior citizens he is their savior when it comes to the high cost of prescription drugs, they may also want to give him credit for the outrageously high cost of heating oil. You can lay this problem right at the feet of the Clinton-Gore administration. There is oil to be had on U.S. soil, but the vice president doesn't want to expose the seals and reindeer to a possible spill. So while you sit there shivering in your formerly warm home, take heart in the fact that the animals are comfortable.

The high cost of drugs is peanuts compared to what we are paying for products as a result of Environmental Protection Agency regulations and the Clinton-Gore tree-hugging mentality. Tapping the Strategic Oil Reserve for a few million gallons at a time when we are looking at an all-out war in the Middle East only goes to prove that votes are more important than our national security. The amount of heating oil to come out of refining 3 million gallons will be minuscule. Meanwhile, we are at the mercy of our "good friends" who control the oil supply.

George W. Bush has made oil drilling a top priority during his campaign. The Gore scare tactics concerning oil disasters is ridiculous. You may remember oil was discovered in Pennsylvania, and the state seems to be doing fine, even though drilling went on for years. Texas and Nebraska and countless other states have oil, and so far we haven't had any major oil spill problems. If most of the Southwest can survive oil exploration and extraction, what makes Alaska any different?

There is a chance we have almost 15 billion barrels of oil underneath the Arctic tundra. If that's true, we might someday be in a position to stop purchasing oil from our archenemy Saddam Hussein. We bomb him on Monday and buy his oil on Tuesday. The bad news is, if we started drilling for oil right now, it would be years before it found its way into our local fuel supply. We have been had by a bunch of over-the-edge environmental zealots.

Offshore drilling along the Pacific Coast also is off-limits. The motto for the Gore quest for the presidency should be "oil, oil, everywhere, but not a drop to burn." Will the administration trot out shivering children this winter and blame Persian Gulf nations for this inhuman treatment of our young? Apparently, the administration feels it's OK for the rest of the world to endanger their environment while providing oil for us, but we are far too civilized for such an endeavor.

The most important issue in the coming election is oil, not drugs, not abortion, not campaign contributions, and certainly not tax refunds. The United States is totally dependent upon oil from nations that despise everything about us but the dollar. As the crisis in the Middle East escalates, we will have to pick sides. You can bet your SUV that we will be hard-pressed to make an enemy of any oil-producing nation.



Dick Boland is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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