Monday's Wall Street Journal included an op-ed piece entitled "New Priorities For Our Energy Future" by T. Boone Pickens and Ted Turner. The unlikely duo emphasized the increased need for renewable energy and "clean-burning natural gas" for a more secure energy and climatic future.

That's nothing we haven't heard before, and fortunately, we're hardly sitting still on either count. As I noted a month ago, even ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), is now following hard on the heels of BP (NYSE:BP), Shell (NYSE:RDS-A), and others in a new biofuels project focusing on algae. Beyond that, producers as Chesapeake (NYSE:CHK) and Devon (NYSE:DVN) have left us awash in natural gas.

However, the authors did make some solid points worth remembering. Pickens and Turner noted that we spent nearly $25 billion in June alone to import foreign crude oil for domestic use. They also mentioned that burning natural gas creates only half the carbon dioxide produced by coal.

Still, the items they left out of the piece seemed to make it incomplete:

  • I was pleased at Pickens and Turner's emphasis on natural gas -- but where was the word "nuclear"? Atomic energy has been successful for France; shouldn't we also take advantage of its proven technology?
  • Pickens and Turner also overlooked the possibility of opening the majority of our outer continental shelf to drilling. We need interim sources of fuel, and increased domestic drilling is one way to provide hydrocarbons without sending money abroad.

Nevertheless, most members of Big Oil are now involved in the renewable fuels effort, joined by such other companies as Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) and DuPont (NYSE:DD). I therefore would like to believe that we'll soon be farther along than we could have predicted in this important endeavor.

Finally, I've mentioned some solid companies above; both Dow Chemical and ExxonMobil are four-star rated by Motley Fool CAPS players, while Chesapeake earned a coveted fifth star. Why not weigh in with your votes on each company?

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