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Oil, gas and Vermont

When I hear some politicians talk about "energy independence" today I don'tbelieve a word they say. How could they be serious about America's energy independence when they still discount developing abundant fossil fuel, nuclear, and other energy resources right here at home? Yes, that includes drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and elsewhere - maybe even here in Vermont. Yes, Isaid drilling in Vermont.

When I think of the term "energy independence," Icertainly don't limit my thinking to simply "green," renewable resources. I am not that narrow minded. Iconsider renewables, fossil fuels, hydro, geothermal, and nuclear fuels as part of the bigger picture - all important stepping stones on the painful but necessary path to U.S. energy independence.

As far as our national energy policy goes, when only narrow political agendas are being considered, well, I distrust both the agendas and the folks proposing them.

Take Vermont's congressman, U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D). He is outraged about rising gasoline prices. Me, too. But, instead of being open minded about all the energy options here at home, he proposes, instead, to tap the rainy day strategic oil reserve - yet what about drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and elsewhere? The idea appears far off the Congressman's radar screen.

So, in my estimation, Congressman Welch isn't the least bit serious about reducing America's dependence on foreign oil.

Did you know that Vermont has considerable promise as a source for natural gas and possibly some petroleum reserves? Since the mid 1950s, over two dozen energy concerns have probed our area for natural gas and oil deposits.

This mid-20th century exploration boom was focused in the Champlain Valley lowlands along the Vermont border with Quebec; the technical results of several geological surveys were - and remain - highly encouraging. What limited more fine-tuned exploration here was the drilling technology of the era. The area was last probed seriously during the 1970s. Since then, however, drilling technologies have improved tenfold with newer, stronger alloys and synthetics along with more sensitive instrumentation.

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