OTHER VOICES

Natural gas

Posted March 30, 2012, at 5:51 p.m.

To drill or not to drill, baby?

That is the question that is launching a thousand heated partisan debates early in this presidential campaign season.

Is drilling merely a catchy slogan, as President Barack Obama has suggested in recent campaign speeches? Or is it an important piece of a national policy with the potential to lead us to energy independence and, eventually, to a sustainable energy future? We have argued consistently and strenuously that it is the latter.

This situation provides an enormous opportunity, if only our leaders, Democratic and Republican together, will see it and act decisively. That opportunity is to dramatically expand the domestic market for natural gas.

Doing so would also answer the president’s protestations that more drilling won’t change high gasoline prices at the pump. Yes, that is true.

But not so much if our fuel of choice, for transportation in particular, becomes natural gas. …

We’ll grant that this is not an instant fix. But over the intermediate and long term, shifting our fleet vehicles, our 18-wheelers, even our diesel-powered freight locomotives to run on natural gas, will pay dividends of price stability.

If Obama is serious about an “all of the above” energy policy, and we hope he is, greatly expanding the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel is the obvious place to start.

Houston Chronicle (March 28)

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