After reading the letter from Diana Thorn in your 07/24/08 issue, I felt compelled to reply.

Ms. Thorn thinks that America can drill its way to energy independence and lower oil prices. How can that be, when we consume 25 percent or more of the world’s oil, and only sit on top of 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves? I’d be very grateful if she could work out the math for me on that one. No, the only solutions will be long term, and will involve alternate energy sources and sensible conservation policies.

There are many causes of our current energy crisis, and a lack of oil drilling is not among them.

First, if counted as a separate nation, the U.S. military machine would be the world’s single largest consumer of petroleum products. One wonders how much more of them our forces are consuming because of the unnecessary war they are fighting for billions of dollars a month halfway across the world. Ceasing operations in Iraq would make huge amounts of oil immediately available (and contrary to Republican talking points, wouldn’t make us one iota more vulnerable to terrorism).

Second, the U.S. dollar is laughably weak. That accounts for the majority of the “increase” in oil prices that we have seen over the past year. The scramble by Republicans to deregulate everything in the American economy has brought our economy to the brink of ruin. (Think housing bubble and mortgage crisis.) That is directly attributable to the current administration. Thanks for the nearly worthless dollar, George!

Third, the practices of the oil business itself must come under scrutiny. While oil companies turn record profits, they still claim to be making little or no money. “We’re turning it all around into exploration,” they say. Really? Then why do millions of acres of land already leased to oil companies sit idle? And why have oil companies built no new refineries since the Carter administration? Clearly, oil producers are not “good neighbors”, are in fact raping the U.S. economy, and must be brought to heel. Additionally, oil speculation — also allowed because of the conservative drive toward deregulation — has added to the recent increases in gas prices. And the Republican response to legislation attempting to control speculators? Filibuster. Yes, the Republicans are certainly looking after the best interests of America, aren’t they?

Another right-wing talking point Ms. Thorn brings up is the “environmental safety” of drilling. She repeats the lie that has gone out repeatedly from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and John McCain that no oil was spilled during Hurricane Katrina.

Sorry, Ms. Thorn, but just because something gets said repeatedly doesn’t make it true, and you might want to check your facts before spouting off again. In fact, during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 124 oil spills occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, involving more than 770,000 gallons of oil. The EPA considers any spill more than 100,000 gallons to be “major.” So offshore drilling has the potential to be a major catastrophe for our environment.

Sorry, Ms. Thorn, but you and all your ditto-head friends are not going to be able to lie your way into blaming Democrats for this one. Your party has been in control for nearly eight years. This crisis is entirely the making of George Bush, his oil buddies and the Republican Party, along with the entire conservative movement going back to Ronald Reagan. Too bad the Republican Party — like a spoiled child — will never take any responsibility for the damage it has done.