ExxonMobil Chief Says U.S. Can’t Shed Dependence on Mideast Oil

The head of ExxonMobil — the bete noire of oil companies, from enviros’ perspective — declared this week that the U.S. cannot achieve energy independence and shouldn’t even try. ExxonMobil Chair Lee Raymond, speaking in Washington, D.C., suggested cozying up to Middle Eastern nations because increased U.S. dependence on oil and natural gas from the region is “inevitable.” “We do not have the resource base to be energy independent,” he said, dismissing the potential of renewable sources to make a significant contribution to U.S. energy supplies. Of course, he still wants more U.S. public land opened up to oil drilling, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Democratic presidential contender John Kerry has made energy independence part of his platform, and President Bush has also made noises about decreasing reliance on foreign oil. No word yet on whether they’ll abandon those plans in the face of Raymond’s sagacious arguments.