Letters to the Editor

Readers write about offshore oil drilling.

Can domestic drilling provide US energy independence?

Regarding your June 20 editorial, "Yes to offshore oil, but not now": Even if the United States outer continental shelf (OCS) were opened today, the Energy Information Administration expects that oil production could not begin before 2018.

The estimates of how much oil and gas are recoverable from the OCS are guesses, not facts.

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Projected production figures to 2030 are based on a very unreliable mean of two extreme guesses. Both the Pacific and Atlantic OCS are known to have smaller potential deposits, and an unknown number of them may not be economically feasible to exploit.

Even the paltry benefits from increased production disappear if demand increases unabatedly.

We would do much better to formulate energy policies that address our real problems and forget such meaningless side issues as finding and burning the last remaining little bits of petroleum in North America.

Howard Wilshire
Sebastopol, Calif.

In response to your recent editorial on offshore oil drilling: The current economic problem is that there are no alternatives to oil usage in the short term; not ethanol, natural gas, wind, or nuclear. Each of these is so minuscule in relation to conversion or build-out time that they are negated in the short term.

Raising prices without raising domestic production solves nothing in the short or long term.

If we do not approach this current shortage in two ways – drill here and refine here – then there will never be enough energy to make our economy secure through use of those other sources.

Saving oil for future generations sounds altruistic, but it is best for countries that produce nothing else, i.e., Saudi Arabia.

The US economy is more diverse, and needs all types of energy to continue its growth and prosperity, so the only short-term, practical solution is to drill and refine here.

Gary L. Holcombe, CFP
Atlanta

Regarding your recent editorial on offshore drilling: I agree that the call to open more offshore areas to leasing is no solution to the rapid rise in prices of oil and its derivative products. It is an example of the tactics of politicians in an election season: They try to offer immediate solutions to a long-term problem.

Our nation should have recognized, beginning with the so-called "Arab oil embargo" in 1973, that we ought to seek all possible alternatives to fossil fuels for transportation.

Energy independence is an impossibility unless we make an all-out effort to use energy more wisely, develop a broad array of conventional and nonconventional energy sources, and bring to market those that are feasible. Perhaps our most recent wake-up call will finally put us permanently on that path.

Maurice Wildin
Albuquerque, N.M.

Regarding your recent editorial on offshore drilling: If, instead of conducting wars, America would put the same amount of money into renewable energy, it would have a multiplicity of effects. It would stop increasing the US national debt by the cost of these wars. It would decrease the cost of oil for the whole world by simply reducing the demand for it. It would decrease the amount of discretionary money available for the financing of terrorism, and it would increase world stability. America would also stop having to sell off assets such as its ports in order to pay for oil imports. If America goes bust, it will pull us all down.

William Hughes-Games
Waipara, New Zealand

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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