'Flirting With Energy Chaos'

Your editorial "Flirting With Energy Chaos" (Nov. 21) was disappointing because it only addressed half of America's mounting energy problem.

You point out that domestic oil consumption is rising while production drops. You suggest a 25-cent per gallon tax on gasoline to discourage consumption. You say: "American dependence on foreign oil is destined to grow unless firm action is taken to discourage the rate of growth in energy demand."

Energy conservation is the first vital step in any campaign to improve America's energy situation. No doubt a 25-cent tax would help achieve this worthy end. So far as it goes, energy conservation is a good idea. It doesn't go very far, however. If we are ever to re-balance American energy consumption and supply, we have to devote equal time to energy production . A national energy policy based upon conservation alone will fail because it is only half of a policy.

We Americans--and that includes the fourth estate--need to couple responsible energy conservation with the responsible development of domestic energy resources like oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale, tar sands, solar energy and nuclear power. Producing more of our indigenous resources does not mean that the environment must be sacrificed. We can have both: enough energy and a clean, safe environment. We will have neither, however, so long as simply using less energy is our only approach to a workable national energy policy.


Washington, D.C.

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