- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 17, 2001

Commentary columnist Roger Zion is right that we need to develop alternatives to Middle East oil (“Energy independence held hostage,” Nov. 9). But opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil production won't lead to energy independence for the simple reason that we can't have our oil and burn it, too.

Increasing domestic production only speeds the day when we will be completely reliant on imported oil. ANWR will be worth far more in a decade or three, unless we drain it now to cruise around in our gas guzzlers.

America's oil production peaked 30 years ago. We will never be self-sufficient in oil again, whether we drain ANWR now, later or never. We need a crash program for energy efficiency and alternative energy. A tax shift, reducing payroll and income taxes while increasing oil taxes, would harness the market mechanism to build energy independence.

Higher oil prices are inevitable; oil is finite and non-OPEC production will soon decline. A tax shift would keep the oil money in our economy rather than shipping our wealth off to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.


CARL HENN

Rockville


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