Drilling here won’t help | VailDaily.com

Drilling here won’t help

Many Republicans lead by Mr. McCain and Mrs. Palin are making a big thing out of drilling for oil, both “off shore” and in Alaska; and our media dutifully reports that fact. I would suggest that we all examine a few numbers that are being totally ignored.

Not too long ago we were producing about 12 million barrels of oil a day and consuming about 17 million barrels. That left us with a deficit of 5 million barrels, which we imported from Mexico, Canada and several other countries.

But because our existing reserves are being depleted very rapidly, we now only produce about 7 million barrels per day; while at the same time our consumption has increased to 21 million barrels. As a result, we now import 14 million barrels of oil each day; and we are forced to buy it wherever we can, with the countries of the Middle East providing a good bit of it.

Now here comes Mr. McCain’s program as reported by the media. It intimates that “drill, baby, drill” will solve the problem and drive oil prices down. The truth is that in just a few years our production from existing wells will further decline to about 5 million barrels per day. At the same time, the most optimistic projections from additional drilling in Alaska and from new “off shore” wells might add 2 million barrels.

That would merely enable us to maintain our current production level of 7 million barrels. And that still leaves us with the requirement to purchase 14 million barrels each day.

We need to think far beyond the “drill, baby, drill” program because it solves nothing and diverts our attention from truly achieving energy independence. We need to practice conservation, drive electric or hybrid cars, build many more nuclear power plants, find a means to recover the CO2 from coal-fired facilities, commercialize new technologies, and accelerate the use of solar and wind power. Becoming energy independent while we reduce pollution is no simple task! It might be helpful if Mr. McCain, Mrs. Palin and the media would “tell it like it is!”

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