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Oil, gas remain critical

U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-12th District, is once again right: The U.S. can’t afford to become energy dependent on other nations.

We, as we have editorialized in the past, support Keller’s efforts to increase domestic drilling and the construction of pipelines to move oil and gas where it needs to go more quickly and efficiently.

Keller called for renewed pushes for domestic drilling and pipelines during a visit to Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Penn College has long been at the forefront of educating Pennsylvanians for careers in the energy sector and in related fields.

Which brings us to a second point: Domestic energy production, including oil and gas in the near to intermediate future, creates jobs. It creates jobs that pay well enough to support families and to support communities.

We remain hopeful that, in the long term, the U.S. can transition to greater use of solar and wind power. But we also recognize that until the technologies for affordable battery capacity are sufficiently advanced that significant use of solar and wind are impractical.

We are open-minded about other sources of energy, such as hydroelectric power and nuclear power. But we also recognize that retrofitting existing dams to generate power will only go so far and that creating new dams would itself destroy forests and other habitats. We also recognize that nuclear power has generally required heavy subsidizing by the government and will require storage of nuclear waste — which we suspect will always be unpopular with the communities around potential storage sites.

We, of course, don’t know when affordable battery capacity will be within reach. We doubt anyone does. We don’t know if Americans are willing to sacrifice forests for more hydroelectric dams and lakes. We don’t know if further technological breakthroughs can either reduce the costs — and subsequently the necessary subsidies — for nuclear power or reassure Americans about having waste stored within miles of their homes. We doubt anyone truly knows the answers to those questions either.

Until then, we need to be practical about our energy needs and we need to be practical in recognizing that if our dependence on oil and gas means a dependence on oil and gas from dictatorships we are, in effect, funding that tyranny.

And so, we need to join Keller in supporting domestic oil and gas.

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