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Government For, and By, the Energy Companies
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Gasoline, the cheapest grade, is now $3 a gallon in San Francisco and on its way up to that level here in Los Angeles. Those of us who have to drive every day to work because public transportation is slow, dirty and inadequate continue to cringe at the cost and pay up. Every time I have to fill my gas tank I rejoice that I bought a fuel efficient car and regret that I didn't buy a hybrid.

The Bush folks scold us for the higher prices and point out that if we voters would only approve the development of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserves, the problem would be solved.

Interesting, that word "solved." What kind of a solution is it when it will take a decade for that oil to come on line; what kind of a solution has as its byproduct the destruction of irreplaceable wildnerness? Is it really a solution when in 20 years the country will be back to facing the same kind of shortage after the Alaskan oil has been guzzled down by hordes of SUVs and Hummers?

It's all the more frustrating when the alternative energy sources exist and the mechanics for utilizing them have been under development and in some cases are already in place. So I guess the real question is this one: When will we break the stranglehold of the oil companies? When will the United States no longer be under the control of major corporations that buy themselves a president and then line their own pockets at will, at the expense of the national weal?

Now would be a good time. Here would be a good place.

As of this date, the House is debating an energy bill that includes $8.1 billion in tax breaks, mainly for big energy companies; permits oil drilling in part of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and provides legal protections to producers of the gasoline additive MTBE, which is blamed for contaminating drinking water. This is government for the people?

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