Oil spill exposes flawed energy policy

May 11, 2010

In his op-ed, "Gulf spill a lesson nation must heed" (May 10), Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin makes the argument that environmental groups have been slow to articulate: The BP oil spill is not just a failure of the oil companies or federal regulators — it is a failure of our energy policy to shift to clean energy sources.

The recent string of energy disasters — the fatal natural gas plant explosion in Connecticut in February; the deadly Massey mining collapse in West Virginia in April; and the ongoing BP oil geyser in Louisiana — represent more than just the physical risks of the energy extraction. They reflect an energy policy that continues to give billions of dollars of subsidies to fossil fuel industries.

Enacting a federal climate and energy policy that prioritizes energy conservation, renewable energy and investment in emerging clean technologies would not only lessen our impact on the climate, but would also reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and their associated environmental dangers, and spur high-tech jobs that can keep America competitive in the global market. By protecting our coastlines, we can begin the transition to a cleaner, more productive future.

With any luck, this oil spill will serve as a wakeup call that delay is no longer an option.

Juliana Williams, College Park

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