Letters

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Develop the oil and natural gas resources America already has

As John Hughes articulated in his Feb. 8 Opinion column, "To reduce oil intake, Bush's energy plan can only do so much": America's oil and natural gas resources were ignored not only in the State of the Union address, but also in the president's proposed budget released last week. The White House's federal budget proposal calls for "zeroing out" the Department of Energy's oil and natural gas programs. But the best medicine for breaking the nation's foreign addiction is the development of the abundant oil and natural gas resources we have here at home.

The estimated undiscovered oil offshore (east and west coasts, as well as the Gulf of Mexico) could replace current levels of oil imports from the Persian Gulf for the next 59 years. However, 90 percent of the offshore resources is off-limits, including 300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 50 billion barrels of crude oil. Clean natural gas in the Rocky Mountains, which is currently off-limits, could heat 50 million US homes for the next 60 years.

Today, 65 percent of the energy Americans use comes from oil and natural gas. There will be a 34 percent increase in US demand for natural gas by 2025. America's energy problems should provide enough motivation for Congress and the president to form a consensus on a clear-cut, inclusive, and long-term solution. Ignoring the great resources we already have will do nothing but prolong America's energy hangover. Michael LinnMr. Linn is chairman of the Independent Petroleum Association of America in Washington, D.C., and president and CEO of Linn Energy, LLC, in Pittsburgh.Pittsburgh

From rote learning to critical thinking

Regarding the Feb. 9 article, "In Egyptian schools, a push for critical thinking": Egypt is not the only country that is moving its schools away from rote learning to critical thinking. Despite their renowned educational systems, Japan, Korea, and Singapore are also trying to foster individuality and creativity in classrooms.

The impetus for this fundamental change is the realization among political and business leaders that what worked so well in the past to help their nations rapidly develop economically will not serve in a high-tech world. …