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Oil Reserves Do Not Spring Eternal

A comment on the article ``Land of Opportunity for US Energy Sector, Maybe,'' Aug 24: I hope that this article does not contribute to the United States' continued complacency about its dependency on foreign oil.

Dependence on foreign oil is the US economic Achilles' heel. Its transportation sector is largely dependent on oil. If the transportation sector does not have fuel it will stop. The US now imports close to 50 percent of the oil that it consumes and has lost its ability to produce sufficient oil to meet its own needs. There is no evidence that the US will ever again be able to produce sufficient domestic oil to meet its needs regardless of how much drilling the government permits.

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The Department of Energy (DOE) says that the remaining US oil reserves, as of the end of 1991, are 24.7 billion barrels. This is not very much oil for a country that consumes 6.2 billion barrels per year. Much of the world's oil reserves are in the politically unstable Middle East and our supplies of oil are increasingly dependent on that oil.

In order for the United States to end its dependency on foreign oil, it must change its energy infrastructure from one that produces and uses fossil fuel to one that produces and uses renewable nonpolluting fuel. This task is necessary for our survival and future prosperity. If we do it right, we will solve our most perplexing environmental problems, many of which have their root cause in our continued use of fossil fuel.

At present, the DOE has no plans to make US energy independent especially in the transportation sector. We have known since 1973, when the first oil crisis demonstrated our vulnerability to a shortage of oil. Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 again demonstrated our vulnerability. It is time the government acknowledged this problem and put the private sector to work solving it.

The change in the US energy infrastructure is where the real US energy sector opportunity lies. Charles H. Terry, Phoenix Reservations remain on budget

Regarding the editorial ``The Budget Squeaker,'' Aug. 9: Had President Clinton's deficit-reduction plan failed, the defeat would have hurt his presidency far less than its passage is certain to do.

Under the plan, Americans will find more of their inheritances consumed in taxes. Some businesses may be forced into hiring freezes to compensate for the increased burden. Some entrepreneurs who might have paid cash to start their own businesses and buy commercial property will now have to borrow money to do so. Some wealthy Americans who might have paid cash to buy homes will likewise have to take out loans.

Republican opposition to the plan can't be dismissed as mere carping. The truth is, the opposition had some very good, workable, specific ideas for reducing the deficit without tax hikes. Unfortunately, House and Senate leaders never allowed these ideas to be aired on the floor of either chamber.

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Unless we reverse this alarming drift, Americans can count on still higher taxes, still bigger government, higher unemployment, and reduced savings by the end of the current presidential term.

There is still time to undo the damage. Jim Hastings, Boston More than just mud

I was delighted to read the article ``Israeli Cosmetics Firm Puts New Face on Dead Sea Mud,'' Aug. 17. Three friends and I discovered these products at Ein Gedi while on a trip to Israel. There has been so much demand for them in our area that a distributorship has been started. A firm in New Jersey is handling the products for the United States. I have long been an admirer of Israel and its people and was so happy to know that AHAVA products will be available products will be available outside of Israel. Phyllis L. Daniel, Denver

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