Energy and the Environment

March 3, 2000 • Volume 10, Issue 8
Does the United States still depend too heavily on oil?
By Mary H. Cooper

Introduction

In January environmentalists in New Hampshire protest presidential hopeful George W. Bush's stance on global warming. (Photo Credit: AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards)
In January environmentalists in New Hampshire protest presidential hopeful George W. Bush's stance on global warming. (Photo Credit: AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards)

The recent spike in oil prices has raised concerns about the impact of energy prices on the U.S. economy. But to environmentalists, the clamor for oil-price relief is just another indication that federal energy policies have done little to reduce America's thirst for oil. Despite increasingly stringent air-quality standards imposed over the past three decades, the combustion of oil and coal continues to pollute many cities. Moreover, continued reliance on fossil fuels also produces excessive levels of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas implicated in global warming. Some energy experts say it's time to reassess nuclear energy's potential, but critics say it isn't as clean as supporters claim, and that safe storage of nuclear waste remains unresolved.

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