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The Hill: Rethinking America's Energy Security

Author: Bernard Weinstein
February 22, 2011

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Bernard Weinstein argues that America must revise it's domestic energy policy in order to circumvent high energy costs and homeland security threats.

Last month, amid fears the Suez Canal might be closed by the political turmoil in Egypt, the price of oil briefly topped $100 per barrel. As a result of ongoing clashes in Bahrain and Libya, oil prices are again approaching the century mark.  

The revolutions in North Africa, along with other evidence of political instability across the Middle East, should remind us that America's lack of a coherent domestic energy policy is putting our economy and our national security at risk.

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, perhaps best summarized these risks when he recently stated, “The current political unrest in Egypt and its unstable neighbors strongly reinforces America's need to reduce our dependence on turbulent regions of the word and produce more energy at home.” 

In the spring of 1977, in the aftermath of the OPEC oil embargo, President Jimmy Carter made a similar statement when he declared that energy independence was “the moral equivalent of war.” At the time, we were importing about 30 percent of our oil needs. Today, that percentage is close to 60 percent and at $260 billion accounted for roughly half our total trade deficit last year.

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