Rethink our energy path


To the Editor:

America, with only five percent of the world’s population, consumes 25 percent of the world’s oil, coal, natural gas, and uranium. The world produces a little over 80 million barrels of oil every day: the United States needs about 20 million of those barrels every day, but can only produce five million barrels by itself. There are about 2,400 coal-fired power plants in the world; 600 located in America. There are more than 400 nuclear power plants in the world, with more than 100 located in America.

Four primary fuels are used to provide 95 percent of America’s electricity: coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium. The United States is deficient in all four fuels. In 2000, the United States imported 12,512,623 short tons of coal. The U.S. liquid crude oil tank is running on empty. By 1970, America depleted its top half tank of oil when production peaked at around 10 million barrels a day. Today, America can only produce half as much. Every time we fill up at the gasoline station, between six and seven gallons originates with oil from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Nigeria, Angola, Libya, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Russia, Canada, and Mexico.

North America’s conventional natural gas tank is running on empty, containing only 4.3 percent of the world’s remaining proven reserves (U.S 3.2 percent, Canada 0.9 percent, and Mexico 0.2 percent). In 2004, there were 150 LNG tankers in the world: the United States uses about that much natural gas in a week. Fifty percent of the uranium fuel pellets used in America’s fleet of nuclear power plants is purchased from Russia. One out of every 10 homes in America gets its electricity compliments of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The recent cap and trade/energy bill surfaced by Senators Kerry and Lieberman calls on American taxpayers to foot the bill for trying to clean up America’s fleet of 600 coal-fired power plants, while at the same time paying to convert America’s fleet of 18-wheelers to run on compressed natural gas. I would suggest that Senators Kerry, Lieberman, et al, consider rethinking this approach as the energy path America should follow.

Peter Cabana