SKOWHEGAN – The Margaret Chase Smith Library has announced the theme of its 11th annual essay contest. Because of geopolitical turmoil and natural disasters, Americans have seen oil and gas prices soar over the past year.

The continued economic expansion of emerging countries such as China and India means demand for energy is increasing at a time when many experts forecast the supply has peaked. Added to the equation are concerns that burning fossil fuels contributes to global warming.

With these factors in mind, the library invites Maine high school seniors to submit essays proposing a comprehensive national energy policy.

Sen. Smith was aware of the nation’s looming crisis over three decades ago. In 1976, she said, “What we should be more concerned about is the depletion of our resources – about our energy crisis. We continue to resist to facing up to the grim realities and doing something about stopping the waste of our resources – to stop living it up big – to be willing to lower our materialistic standard of living.”

The library will award the following prizes to the top entries: $500 for first place; $250, second; $125, third; as well as five $25 honorable mention prizes. Essays are due by April 2. Prizes will be announced on May 1.

To submit entries or for more information, contact David Richards at the Margaret Chase Smith Library, 56 Norridgewock Ave., Skowhegan, ME, 04976, or by telephone at 474-7133.