Drilling Alaska's Oil Reserves Brings No Barrels of Fun

Drilling Alaska's Oil Reserves Brings No Barrels of Fun

In the opinion-page essay ''To Avoid Long Lines for Gas, Tap Alaska's Oil Reserves,'' May 18, Sen. Frank Murkowski (R) of Alaska quotes some correct statistics but draws the wrong conclusions. The US Interior Department estimates that combined proven and undiscovered domestic oil reserves total 62 billion barrels.

US annual consumption is about 6.2 billion barrels, about half of which is imported. At present rates of consumption, simple arithmetic shows that domestic oil will be depleted in just 20 years. Using Senator Murkowski's estimates, there are about 9 billion barrels on Alaska's Arctic Coast, which is only about a year and a half's supply for the US, hardly a lasting solution. Policymakers and citizens need to realize that we will never again achieve energy independence. We need to stretch our domestic resources by conservation measures, and use American ingenuity and expertise to work on alternatives.

Lee Larson Granville, Ohio

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