The war with Iraq has focused our attention sharply on the Gordian knot of the United States' intertwining political, energy, and environmental interests. In dramatic contrast to the billions spent weekly on war, the 101st Congress passed in its closing days, and the president signed, the National Environmental Education Act, authorizing fiscal 1992 funding of merely $12 million--roughly the value of just five M1A1 tanks or 17 Patriot missiles. This bill reveals a remarkable lack of national commitment to addressing a critical issue.

The U.S. is now confronted with two complex, interrelated, and urgent problems: environmental quality and energy resources. A forward-looking policy, one that would have considerable impact on the scientific research community, is needed to provide adequate resources to develop new ways to improve the quality of our environment and new approaches to energy conservation and self-sufficiency. These problems are not amenable to quick fixes. Rather, they require...

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