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U.S. NEEDS AN ENERGY POLICY - NOW

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For years, the United States has needed a comprehensive energy policy - one combining conservation with development of new fuel sources.

It still has none. But while the Bush administration does not have a concrete energy proposal, it has come up with a commendable push for a public dialogue - a national debate - about tax breaks for domestic oil exploration and better home insulation, about alternative fuel sources and about higher fuel-efficiency standards and smaller automobiles.The administration lists these possible public-policy options about energy and says, "Let's start talking about all these things."

The talk, however, cannot go on forever or be an excuse to do nothing. Worldwide consumption will equal production in two more years. The relatively low energy prices that Americans have been enjoying will then be a memory. We need to have a plan in motion by that time.