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Protect Oil Supplies

December 21, 1986

When discussing the "petroleum problem," all experts seem to make the same error.

Senators J. Bennett Johnston and Claiborne D. Pell, in their Nov. 23 Viewpoint pieces ("A Levy on Oil, the Pros and Cons of an Import Tax) show that even those who recommend conflicting solutions to the problem fail to recognize this error.

An oil import tax would create a price advantage for domestic production over imported petroleum.

This would tend to increase the consumption of our domestic supply (including those reserves not yet developed or even discovered) while reducing imports.

This means that an import tax--as with all of the other solutions to the petroleum problem that have been publicly proposed by experts within the petroleum industry or in government--will lead to the exhaustion of our domestic supplies.

Then, our children will be even more dependent on foreign supplies than we are now.

The only long-term solution to the trade deficit in petroleum--the only means to truly protect our strategic domestic supply--must involve further reductions in consumption.

An import tax can be a valid move only if there is an equal tax on domestic production. We must protect our limited domestic supplies.

DAVID E. ROSS

Agoura

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