Just when the nation is developing momentum in seeking alternatives to burning oil, President Bush has proposed reversing course on one of the most important, long-standing environmental policies on energy.

He wants Congress to lift a moratorium on offshore drilling.

That's a shortsighted approach to the nation's energy policy. It is also a flat-out wrong approach environmentally. The nation is being squeezed by fuel prices, but that is no cause to forsake its own sound environmental protections as though it were a fix to a long-term problem.

The nation needs to hear about a sound, long-term energy policy that will continue to wean the nation off oil and toward alternative fuel sources.

The president has also called for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which would be an environmental mistake as grave today as before. But it's important to remember that politicians bear no more guilt on the demand for oil than the U.S. consumer. The gluttony for oil comes at a price, but the environment should not have to pay it.

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