Focus Point - Timely Energy Reform

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. With the terrorist war now escalated to a real war on both sides, we need to think about the possibility of our Middle Eastern oil supply being disrupted. One estimate, from Raymond James and Associates, put the chances at 80 percent in the next two years - and 20 to 30 percent in the short term.

If supplies fell by three or four million barrels a day, crude prices could hit $50 a barrel - expensive with U.S. producers already pumping at capacity and imports totaling 60 percent of demand.

We're far more reliant on foreign oil than during the early '70s energy crisis, and becoming more so - and we're about to notice how reliant, because the Defense Department uses a lot of it. And this will be a sustained operation, not another Desert Storm.

There can't be a better time for swift passage of the Bush energy package, which include not only conservation but also drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The environmental damage will be negligible, the economic impact significant - especially now.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next time.