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America should own an oil company

May 5, 2012
The Journal

To the editor:

Do you own an oil company? No, but you should.

If we are serious in this country about managing our national energy policy, one great place to start would be to begin building state-of-the-art oil refineries on or near U.S. military bases. Our military, combined with the rest of the U.S. government, is by far the largest single user of oil in the country. So why don't we pump our own oil from wells on publicly owned land (both on-land and off-shore), and run our own government-owned refineries to fuel our military and the rest of the government? That will increase our fuel supply and decrease demand, permanently pushing prices down for the rest of us. Plus, adding a major player to the oil markets will dampen the enthusiasm of oil speculators.

You've probably read about Delta Airlines buying its own refinery. Big as it is, Delta is a much smaller user of fuel than the federal government. Furthermore, Delta doesn't own any oil property. The American public does.

We are the third largest producer of oil in the world, much of it from public lands, and the profit all goes to private companies. You and I just pay the bill.

Of course, there's just one problem with this sensible suggestion: the oil companies and their political friends will call this socialism. They will be correct. But right now the only governments that own interests in oil refineries in the U.S. are Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, through their state-owned oil companies (Saudi Aramco and Citgo). Our own government doesn't. Isn't that a strange state of affairs?

Mark Beito

Sleepy Eye



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