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Opinion: May 24 buzz: Drilling for oil on our turf

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Most viewed, commented and shared: ‘Drill, baby, drill’ won’t do it

‘This country can’t drill its way to lower gasoline prices,’ writes the editorial board in response to both President Obama’s decision to open the National Petroleum Reserve and to House Republicans’ attempt to pass legislation that would allow more offshore drilling.

In the short term, neither would make a whit of difference at the pump. It would take 10 years of lease sales, permits, exploration, infrastructure construction and drilling to pull oil from the 23-million-acre petroleum reserve, which lies to the west of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. […] In the long term, the United States is on the losing side of the oil equation, with 2% of the world’s oil reserves yet 25% of the world’s oil consumption. Rising demand in other countries means increasing price competition; recent unrest in the Middle East has only exacerbated an already troubling situation. In other words, Americans can’t continue using oil at current rates and expect to escape high prices. Over time, the development of alternative energy sources could go a long way toward reducing our dependence on oil.

On our discussion board, readers weigh in with opposing views on issues such as what defines an environmental disaster and how best the U.S. uses its resources, including time. (Spelling errors corrected for clarity.)

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Every time we try to develop oil reserves in this country, liberals try to dissuade it by saying it will take a long time. Because we listened to you in years past, we’re not enjoying the fruits of such labor today. The reality is this: conservation and renewable resources are fine things, but even crash programs aren’t going to put another gallon of gas in the trucks that deliver The Times. If it will take a long time to develop our own resources, we should get started today. --TimBowman Windmills, solar power, and biofuels will be an environmental disaster. They all require huge amount of land use, eating up scarce wild land and food-producing areas, not to mention water. They would be more expensive, driving jobs and what little manufacturing we have left to places which did not make the switch. Fossil fuels remain the best energy storage and transportation fuel around. Electrical batteries cannot come all that close to holding the same energy density, and cannot be recharged/refueled nearly as quickly. We have to invest heavily in our own fossil fuel resources or remain dependent. --HenryC Drilling won’t do it all, but we are foolish if we don’t try to produce all of the oil we can while implementing conservation measures and continuing to research alternatives. A better mousetrap is not built by driving up the cost of the old one until the new one is cost effective. --tv22xxx Since we have only about 2% of the world’s oil reserves, we can, if we exploit those resources at the same rate as other countries, increase the world’s supply by ---- about 2%. Not much security. Particularly since the oil extracted in the US doesn’t belong to us, but to the companies that extract it. And they will ship it overseas if they can make a dime more per barrel by doing so. Drill, baby, drill don’t work, baby, work. --snuffy1 The price of oil is global, and as such, is essentially set by Saudi Arabia. Extra drilling may bring a bit more oil for a decade or so, but will not bring down oil prices more than a fraction of a cent. In the long run, getting off the oil addiction is the better way to go for a number of reasons, including national security. As to jobs, plenty of good paying jobs can be and have been created in other energy related sectors, including conservation and efficiency. If extra drilling is done, it will not help US economic health at all without significantly increased action in all the areas which are opposed by the drillers. So, I suppose letting drilling to take place could be a part of a deal to increase more meaningful efforts, which could mean a goal with achievable milestones of no oil imports from outside of North America. North America (Canada about 28% and Mexico about 12%) supplies us with about 40% of imports right now. Finally, although the amount is pretty small, about one day of imports, the US does export crude oil. Every little bit helps, and we can do all of the above ourselves if we choose to do so, but it will be like taking your medicine. --cielos azules It’s good to see all the economic and energy experts writing their comments here. --mynamehere

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-- Alexandra Le Tellier


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