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Bartlett says country is addicted to oil

November 09, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

KEEDYSVILLE

karenh@herald-mail.com

After a century that saw enormous increases in creature comforts and world population, the age of oil is ending, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett told members of the Keedysville Ruritan Club on Tuesday.

"We are just as hooked on fossil fuels as a cocaine addict is hooked on his cocaine, and we will be weaned from it," Bartlett said before the Ruritan's business meeting.

Bartlett, R-Md., told about 25 people that the country must invest in energy alternatives and maintain its heritage of respect for God and civil liberties to preserve its greatness.

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Americans, who make up just 1/22 of the world's population, enjoy a quarter of the world's prosperity, Bartlett said.

"I don't know if you ever asked yourself, 'How in the world could we be so lucky? How did we get to be here?'" Bartlett asked.

God has blessed the country and its citizens, Bartlett said. The country should continue to acknowledge God's role in its identity, Bartlett said.

"I think we are who we are because He was, He favored us," he said.

Bartlett touched on a range of topics over about a half-hour in front of Ruritan members and prospective members and their spouses at St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Keedysville.

Club President Rex Harrill said Monday that Bartlett is not the only public official to address the Keedysville Ruritans. The Washington County Commissioners also have visited the group, he said. Harrill said he believes public officials have a duty to meet with community groups.

Bartlett readily agreed with the club's request, Harrill said.

"It's basically a reach-out to the grass-roots kind of thing,'" Harrill said.

Bartlett told one Ruritan who asked he believed education is important in getting people to conserve gas by taking such measures as driving more slowly. The country's lifestyle, which currently depends on oil, is unsustainable, Bartlett said. He cited research and estimates showing oil production has hit its peak.

Bartlett pledged to vote against a bill that comes before the House of Representatives on Thursday if it includes a provision allowing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The decision won't reflect his environmental beliefs, though, Bartlett said. He said he plans to take that stance because he believes the nation should hold back on using the oil it has left.

"This may be a rainy day. There will be a rainier day," Bartlett said.

The country should return to the type of mass-conservation efforts it adopted during World War II and approach the development of new energy sources with the "urgency of the Manhattan Project," Bartlett said.

According to Harrill, the Ruritans perform service projects benefiting scholarships, local school and scouting groups, and other organizations.

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