During the last few months of 1973, almost everyone has become aware of the very important role of energy in our lives. World energy consumption during the last 30 years has exceeded the total amount of energy used during all previous historic time; and, at the present rate of increase, that energy consumption could quadruple by the year 2000. The per capita use of energy in this country is greater than in any other country in the world. Because exploration, discovery, and development of fossil fuels in this country have not kept pace with our requirements, we have found ourselves relying more and more on imports from other countries. In fact, many people have advocated the importation of fossil fuels because they felt the environmental impact of domestic exploration and development was too great. However, we are now faced with an embargo of oil products to the United States by oil-producing countries who wish to influence our foreign policy. We must now submit to these economic pressures or else cope with the serious effects of energy shortages on our economy. The shortage of oil has far-reaching effects, ranging from the manufacture of plastics, clothing, and other synthetic materials, to food processing and transportation. We need to accelerate development of energy resources in this country not only because of the present (1973) embargo on oil but also because the oil-producing nations are developing more energy uses for their own citizens. As these countries gradually obtain more material wealth, their nee
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