Pennsylvania has always been a pioneer in energy activities, from our coal mines to the first discoveries of oil to our leadership in nuclear power. Pennsylvania continues to be an energy-exporting state, most recently from the abundance of natural gas. Recent analysis tells us that nationally, we have so much shale oil that within a couple of decades we may no longer be importing oil. All great news, but we need to be careful of what we wish.
Fossil fuels like oil and gas are still major air polluters and sources of greenhouse gases. Plus, we also need to understand the local environmental impact of both oil and gas drilling and extraction. This means that we ought to be concerned that the potential abundance of these fuels does not slow our development of alternative energy sources like wind and nuclear. These are cleaner and will be available for the very long term. And we need to keep the forward momentum on hybrid and electric vehicles, which can eventually reduce much of the need for oil.
FORREST J. REMICK