As many have suggested, energy policy in this country does need to change. I don't care to pay four dollars a gallon for gas either. But the stream of letters to this page suggesting that "we" need to drill "our oil" in the coastal shelf and in Alaska seem more based on talk-radio rants against liberal environmentalists than on salient facts.

To wit: The oil industry already owns leases on millions of acres of proven oil reserves that could be accessed and drilled immediately. Oil companies already have plenty of money to build more refineries, if that's what's needed, but have shown little interest in doing so, having closed 36 refineries since 1975. And oil companies are profitable. In short, they've found a business model that works just fine.

It's time for sticks, not carrots. Threaten windfall profit taxes for any oil company that isn't actively drilling.

That would only be a bandage, but in a recession, occasional short-term first aid is often needed.

Eric Samuelsen