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American Opinion - On U.S. energy policy

An excerpt from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States:

On U.S. energy policy:

It's difficult not to be charmed by the homespun pitch from Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens. He has been marketing his "Pickens' Plan" to wean the United States off foreign oil for some time now, and he presented his case to editorial writers at a conference in Dallas.

His message isn't "Drill, Baby, Drill" but "Try everything; do everything." He's partial to natural gas, which would pad his already substantial bottom line, but he also touts the development of renewable energy including nuclear, solar, wind, biomass and anything else that may arrive on the horizon. And oil, as long as it's "friendly" oil.

What the nation needs, Pickens says in his familiar Texas drawl, is an energy policy.

What passes for energy policy now is a hodgepodge of competing plans that pit renewable-energy advocates against the petroleum kings and their financiers, with few seeking middle ground. ...

Florida will be a key player in the push to identify energy sources to sustain us in the future. The state has an abundance of sunshine, and Gov. Charlie Crist has been pressing for better use of solar equipment. ...

Each energy source has its drawbacks -- wind and solar power can't yet be produced inexpensively enough to compete with "cheap" oil and coal; nuclear plants take years to permit and build. Much of the natural gas Pickens would like to unleash is in offshore deposits.

For years to come, oil, coal and natural gas will play a role in our economy. But we shouldn't hitch our 21st-century horseless carriage to fossil fuels by refusing to explore the potential for cleaner, renewable energy.

-- Ocala (Fla.) Star-Banner