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US Energy Fix? Make Oil More Like Salt

Oil Barrels
Oil Barrels

The goal of a national energy policy should be to make oil more like salt, according to former CIA director James Woolsey.

Woolsey, who was speaking on a panel on energy security at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, explained that salt was a "strategic commodity" for centuries.

"Even in the nineteenth century, countries fought battles and wars over salt," he said.

What made salt so important was its ability to preserve food. But its importance was quickly undermined by the spread of electricity, which made home refrigeration practical. Very quickly, the centuries-long importance of salt was undermined.

"When you sat down to lunch and saw a salt shaker on the table, I bet you didn't ask yourself where the salt came from. You didn't wonder whether or not we are 'salt independent.' You didn't think about it at all," he said.

Woolsey, who now works for a venture capital firm, said that this should be the goal of the policy of the United States toward oil.

"Electricity did not make salt go away. It just made it boring. That should be our goal: make oil boring," he said.

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