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Letter: The truth about oil energy

We continue to see letters in the Enterprise that oppose the Enbridge Pipeline that is proposed to go through Hubbard County. The accuracy of the arguments in these articles deserves examination.

Lorelei Kraft argues that we don’t need the oil since the U.S. exports more oil per day than we import. The figure she uses is inaccurate and confuses the difference between refined fuels and crude. In reality, the U.S. produces about 6 ½ million barrels of crude oil per day and imports over 10 million barrels of crude and other fossil fuel products per day from 80 countries.

We export about 3 ½ million barrels per day, most of which is U.S. worker produced gasoline and diesel. Even if we exported nothing, we consume domestically approximately 12 million barrels of crude a day, nearly twice the amount we produce on a daily basis. Lorelei also mentions the oil spill in Alberta as an argument against the pipeline. The spill she sited was not caused by a pipeline leak but by failure in the drilling process near where the oil is being extracted.

In her article, Ms. LaDuke claims that the Bakken Oil Fields only produce 350k barrels per day. Yet reports from the American Enterprise Institute reveal that the production exceeded 1 million barrels per day as of December 2013 while at the same time doubling the amount of gas previously extracted. Ms. LaDuke also claimed in a previous article that there were only 2 ½ billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Bakken Fields. In April of 2013 the USGS released estimates of technically (easily) recoverable oil in the Bakken Fields at 7.4 billion barrels. Additionally, a recently released estimate of oil in place in the Bakken Field in all of the rock formations was 300 billion barrels with a conservative recoverable estimate by Continental Resources Inc of 24 billion barrels.

Finally, all the writers are pleading for a switch to alternative energy such as wind and solar. A dose of reality is needed.

A Feb 12, 2011 article in the Enterprise on Itasca Mantrap noted, “wholesale costs of power have been rising steadily … and a state mandate to obtain 25 percent of all power from renewable sources (wind and solar) by 2025 is already adding to the costs of wholesale power. Since 2007, electrical co-ops have been under Legislative pressure to buy more renewable sources of energy.” So how much has the purchase of non-economical wind and solar added to the cost of energy in Minnesota? The Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA) reports that taxpayers in Minnesota ended up paying $70 million more than they needed to for electricity in 2011 because of “green” energy mandates.

Even more revealing was the article in this week’s Enterprise on the wind generator being erected on the White Earth Reservation. This single turbine will cost $1.5 million and required a 100,000 EPA permit. It will generate 50,000 worth of electricity per year. In order to recoup the $1.6 million cost, it will take at a minimum, 32 years of successful operation.

Even worse is the fact that 2/3 of the cost of this project are borne by the taxpayers, not the White Earth Reservation.

The fact is, solar and wind sources are simply not feasible to meet U.S. energy needs. Yet, environmental groups and the current Obama Administration continue to work in collusion to retard the American oil industry and stop pipelines required to carry oil and gas to markets. News releases on Jan. 22, 2014 revealed that newly disclosed emails suggest senior policy officials at the EPA and environmental groups are working secretly to kill the Keystone pipeline. If that is true, will it be surprising if we do not see the same thing for the Sandpiper Pipeline?

As I suggested before, it is time for Minnesota politicians and the public to stand up and be counted on this issue. We need affordable energy and we need the Bakken crude and the Sandpiper Pipeline to provide for our energy needs.

John Parks and John Clauer

Park Rapids