In a prime time address from the Oval Office last week, President Barak Obama pitched a renewed emphasis on developing alternative fuel sources to wean our country off its oil dependence.

Should this be a national priority?

In a prime time address from the Oval Office last week, President Barak Obama pitched a renewed emphasis on developing alternative fuel sources to wean our country off its oil dependence. Should this be a national priority?

Find new sources in our own country
Our country is experiencing a crisis in leadership at the highest levels of government. We need to stop the political gesturing and do what’s right for the country.
Instead of weaning the country off of oil now, let’s get the priorities straight: 1) stop the leak in the Gulf, 2) drill more in our own territories to wean us off of Middle East and Venezuelan oil as soon as possible. 
Down the road, we can move to other forms of energy.  Right now, stop the bleeding.  We’ve got bigger things to deal with at the moment than building inefficient windmills across our national landscape.
Finding new sources of energy in our own country will resolve a whole slew of issues:
• We’ll have a secure source of energy for the next several hundred years.
• By eliminating dependence on Mideast oil, we’ll reduce funding of hate-incubating muslim madrassas in countries around the world.
• We’ll create tens of thousands of good paying jobs and give the economy a much needed boost.
• Gasoline prices will go down.
• It will buy us plenty of time to research alternative sources of energy for the future.
David Creel, Four Seasons

No time like the present, if we start
I have heard this for years (and years). The first president I can recall was Nixon, who stated it was a national priority to end our dependence on oil by 1979.
I suppose the Arab oil embargo of 1973 pushed him into this.
Since then, every single president (and some candidates who were not elected) has made the same campaign promise regarding our dependence on oil.
The truth is not one major effort has been conducted to reach this lofty goal.  
The problem is that oil is the best fossil fuel we have for our myriad of needs. Electricity has potential, hydrogen has potential, and solar power might work out somewhere down the road. The bottom line is that we do not now have a viable alternative for oil in the short term.
If our president wants to get serious, he needs to have a plan formulated and bring it to Congress and the American people.
He will have to identify what the form of energy is we will use to replace oil, specify how long  does he estimate it take to develop adequate supplies to meet our needs, how much will it cost, and what will be required to change over from oil to this new energy source.
I realize there are many “how’s” in this narrative.
We have heard a multitude of words through several sitting presidents. None has ever come forth with a viable plan on HOW we are going to replace oil.
It should have become a national priority in 1973 when the Arabs held us hostage. There is no time like the present to begin.
Carl Hubbell, Linn Creek

Reduce dependence on FOREIGN oil
From a practical viewpoint I believe we will be dependent upon oil in our economy for one or more generations.
We have developed  many non-energy uses for oil that cannot easily be replaced with alternatives. 
We should be more vitally interested in reducing our dependence upon foreign sources of oil where millions of our dollars fund adversarial governments. The biggest obstacle to reducing this dependence seems to be political. Too many agendas interfere i.e. environmental, anti-capitalism, protectionism, etc.
The strongest force for reducing our dependence exists in the marketplace. Market forces, freed of governmental and political constraints could accelerate new, nearby and adequate supplies of domestic oil.
A current example of government interference is the Secretary of Interior’s moratorium on off-shore drilling. New safety and inspection measures are in place to guard against accidents. Why the political moratorium which is costing jobs?
The only national priority should be: Replace governmental obstacles to increasing domestic oil with incentives to accelerate discoveries.
Hal Anway, Lake Ozark

Develop our natural gas resources
This should have been a national priority since the first oil embargo in the 1970’s.  But like previous presidents, Obama has given it nothing but lip service.  
The US is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.  It’s clean compared to oil and coal, it’s here, and its relatively economical.  A wide range of experts from the energy industry have strongly recommended that we use our natural gas resources to offset a significant percentage of oil imports.
There are many compelling business cases for natural gas, and it’s hard to find any credible cases made against using it.  But, while other countries are moving forward quickly with large natural gas conversions, our president is chasing windmills (and solar panels) like Don Quixote — draining millions (billions?) of our hard-earned tax dollars.  
Yes electricity from wind and sun helps, but those will only be a small part of the answer for a long time.  Electric cars appear helpful, but right now in most parts of the country that just means burning more coal to charge them.  
Natural gas, along with nuclear energy, are two of the cleanest and most economical answers to our energy challenges given current technology.  Some refer to natural gas as a ‘bridge fuel’ to the future.  
So why is the US falling behind the rest of the world?  Compared with other countries, it appears that lack of leadership in our government, the White House and Congress, has been the only reason that the US isn’t taking full home field advantage of natural gas to ease our dependence on foreign oil.
Dave Lord, Climax Springs/Olathe, Kan.

Safe, reliable sources are in national interest
Developing alternative fuel sources is a national priority for many reasons. Our national security is at risk if we are not more self-reliant for our energy needs.  
Think about who we buy our oil from. Most of these countries are under Muslim control. The terrorists who were responsible for the September 11, 2001 bombings were from Saudia Arabia, one of our biggest sources of oil. We are fighting two wars against the Islamic Jihadist movement. Safe, reliable fuel is necessary for our national defense.
We are also at the mercy of OPEC when it comes to oil production. If they want more money per barrel, they will cut back production. More dollars chasing fewer goods equals an inflated price. When you combine that with the Wall Street oil speculators, the American consumer has to pay more at the pump for every gallon of gas.
We also need clean energy to heat our homes and fuel our vehicles. I have heard about solar power ever since the 70s when I was in high school. It is time to stop talking about it and start using it! I know the startup costs will be high as with any new venture, but as technology improves the price will go down and the availability will go up.
We should explore cellulose based ethanol using such products as switch grass and wood chips. Cellulose is cheaper to produce than corn and yields more ethanol.
I am pleased to see that Missouri has begun to build wind farms. This really goes back to what our old time farmers did to pump water on their farms.
We also need to explore and use bio-diesel products from soybeans and algae.
I also don’t understand fully why foreign companies are being allowed to have oil rigs in our sovereign coastal waters.
In my opinion, these rights should strictly belong to American companies for sale in the United States. There is no way they we can totally get away from fossil fuels. We can, however, lessen our dependence on foreign nations while decreasing our carbon emissions.
James R. Hall, Camdenton

Money will keep that from ever happening
It is a fact we are a nation dependent on oil. Will we ever reduce that dependence? I do not think we will.
Our leaders have talked about alternative energies for decades. But our dependence on oil fuels our ecomony. It provides our government an excuse to wage war.
Wars produce a great economic gain for our country. It also provides our leaders the opportunity to control the balance of power in oil producing nations.
If it was ecomically feasible to promote alternative fuels, we would have moved to them decades ago. All this talk is just that, talk! Our govenment just promotes what we want to hear.
We will never move to alternative fuels until there is money to be made from them like the power brokers make money from oil.
Drive all the hybrid cars you want, we still manufacture goods via oil, we still produce power from oil, and my friends, this is not going to change.
All the environmentalisst, all the naturalists, all the do-gooders in this world will not make any difference as long as there is money to be made from oil.
If we, as a nation, were truly concerned about reducing our dependence on oil, we would have done it years ago. I do not see that changing now.
David Grossen, Osage Beach