Only Buys Some TimeYou're right to gloat about our foresight in building a large strategic petroleum reserve ("OPEC's Problem, Not Ours," JofC Dec. 5), as long as you simultaneously realize that the reserve is no answer to long-term energy security. All it does is buy us a little time. Not even OPEC's oil will last significantly beyond the first quarter of the next century.
The only course that makes sense for the long term is the large-scale substitution of alternative fuels for petroleum products. We took other initiatives back in the '70s in addition to the strategic reserve - conservation, greater use of nuclear power and coal, development of renewable energy sources and synfuels, and accelerated research on nuclear fusion. It was these, particularly conservation, coal and nuclear, that put us back on top of OPEC.
Further, failure to follow through on these initiatives will bring us right back down. We can celebrate low prices and large reserves, but in doing so we have to realize their temporary nature and keep our eyes fixed on the future.
William B. Reed Reed Consulting Co. Inc. Birmingham, Ala.