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Energy dependency

The slow death of the American energy industry is disquieting. Crude-oil production has fallen to a 31-year low. Solar-energy firms have gone bankrupt, and there hasn't been an order for a nuclear power plant since 1978.

Neither President Bush nor Gov. Bill Clinton has addressed the implications of our nation's growing dependence on imported oil - namely the subtle but pervasively damaging decline in our overall competitiveness that results when we are forced to pay for imported oil. Such oil now accounts for 50 percent of domestic consumption, the highest level of dependence since the OPEC embargo of 1973, and also constitutes 55 percent of the nation's trade deficit. Energy-efficiency measures will help, but to truly a ddress our energy problem we need to develop a basket of energy sources that will reduce our reliance upon any one source. C. T. Carley, Columbus, Miss., Head, Petroleum Engineering Dept., Mississippi State University

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