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Archive for Thursday, September 28, 2000

Loss of security

September 28, 2000

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To the editor:

Recent issues of the Journal-World have contained letters to the editor stating that "tree-hugging lawyers" have stopped the South Lawrence Trafficway, and that the answer to "environmentalism gone awry" is to develop the Alaskan Oil Reserves. I find it interesting that none of these letters mention that increased fossil fuel consumption magnifies the global warming effect. I don't believe these writers are unaware of this correlation. Instead, I think they simply don't care.

And if I might digress with more speculation, these writers, and the Republican politicians for whom they will vote, also don't care that the hole in the ozone is larger than ever; don't care about biodiversity; don't care about Kansas' water pollution; and don't care about the Baker Wetlands. Since they don't care about these issues, using these issues in arguments will not change their conservative environmental opinions. So let's discuss issues they do care about.

First, they care that the price of gasoline is too expensive. Let's analyze this concern by asking the following question: In recent years, when gasoline was priced at 75 cents a gallon, was too much being paid for motor fuel? The answer is obviously no. This conclusion can be reached by noting that, in those years, Americans went out in droves and purchased new automobiles that got worse gas mileage than the older cars they traded in. This ensured that they would be purchasing greater amounts of gasoline thereby increasing their total motor fuel bill.

So now we may ask, are Americans paying too much for motor fuel today? Perhaps, but if they are, they now can go out and purchase automobiles that get better gas mileage. Fair then is fair now. If Americans were responsible for the purchase of gas-guzzling cars when fuel was cheaper, they should be responsible for the purchase of gas-stingy cars now that fuel is higher.

Second, these writers seem very concerned about America's security. They suggest that developing and consuming the Alaskan Oil Reserves would increase America's security. However, by definition, the Alaskan Oil Reserves will be reserves only if they remain unconsumed. For the sake of its security, America should pump the rest of the world dry before using its own oil. If we use up Alaska's oil because we want to continue driving V6, V8, and V10 engines, we are not enhancing America's security; we are greedily, selfishly, and foolishly squandering it.

Darryl Prothe,

Lawrence.

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