Fossil Fuel Use Defended by Leaders of Oil World

Article excerpt

TULSA - Nuclear energy was attacked Tuesday by Dr. Subroto, secretary general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Tulsa.

Subroto, Texaco Inc. Chairman Alfred C. DeCrane Jr. and Oklahoma State Rep. William K. Brewster of Marietta took on global energy topics during a breakfast meeting. The conference began Monday and runs through Aug. 11.

While Subroto blasted nuclear energy as a dangerous alternative to fossil fuels, DeCrane also chided U.S. officials for overreacting to the Exxon spill in Alaska by pressing for alternative fuel measures.

Yet, Brewster noted the increasing dependency of the U.S. on imported crude supplies, which have risen to 47 percent from 42 percent last year, and the environmental aspects of the alternative fuel arguments.

"Of course, all these issues have to be put in their proper perspective, and treated with the appropriate amount of care and discretion," Subroto said.

"Let us not confine ourselves to fossil fuels in our review of the possible environmental `culprits.' "

Noting the devastation of the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986, Subroto said governments worldwide both industrialized and developing have virtually abandoned expansion of the nuclear energy industry. Furthermore, he asserted British scientists recently declared that nuclear energy would not answer global warming problems.

DeCrane said that while the Alaskan spill in March was devastating, the industry has responded in a responsible fashion. And, he said, alternative fuels in transportation are not necessary to solve air pollution problems in the U.S.

"The idea of using alternative fuels to power motor vehicles has become increasingly popular, despite the lack of conclusive evidence that they would significantly reduce emission levels or improve air quality more effectively or more economically than clean-up programs applied to current fuels," said DeCrane.

DeCrane addressed methane, which has been identified as the most likely choice for automakers, specifically as an alternative fuel rather than natural gas. Technology for natural gas vehicles date back to World War II, and it has been proven to be cleaner-burning than crude oil products and coal in industry, the American Gas Association has said. …