It’s all quite remarkable—a formerly pristine hamlet in western Wyoming suffers ozone pollution levels higher than Los Angeles because of nearby natural gas drilling, nuclear power plant waste plunges into the Pacific threatening to wipe out Japan’s fishing industry, BP prepares to resume Gulf Coast drilling less than a year after its oil well blew up with dead porpoises and sea turtles still washing up on area beaches, and the drill, drill, drill folks are back thanks to rising oil prices over the Middle East political contagion.

For more than 40 years, the United States has sidestepped opportunities for conservation and developing new energy technologies simply because big energy businesses (oil companies) and related industries (automobile manufacturers including their labor unions) have lobbied (basically paid off) politicians from both parties to short-circuit new initiatives that might have created world class businesses by now and made us more energy independent. We probably would not have had as much interest in getting caught up either in outrageously costly wars in Iraq or Afghanistan or be involved in propping up failing oil state regimes, the real targets of insidious groups like Al Qaeda.

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