Facts on oil production | Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

Facts on oil production

I am writing a rebuttal to Don Brunell’s commentary appearing in the May 29, 2024 Opinion section of the Mercer Island Reporter. The article is titled, “Washington state benefits from Alaska oil leasing.”

Mr. Brunell takes aim at the Biden administration for its “attack on domestic oil and gas production by effectively blocking leases in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve.” Mr. Brunell calls the block on these leases “ill-advised.”

Mr. Brunell’s one-sided commentary fails to mention many important facts related to the Biden Administration’s decision. To balance out Mr. Brunell’s commentary, here are some critical facts that were left out.

1. In 2023, the U.S. exported 1.4 billion barrels of crude oil per year, an all-time record. This is a 13% increase from the previous record set in 2022. The U.S. has maintained this position for several years — mostly due to advances in hydraulic fracking. We meet our own demand for oil with domestic production while exporting a significant amount of crude.

2. Opening up Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve would risk this environmentally sensitive area. The Arctic region is home to a variety of wildlife, including endangered species such as polar bears and caribou. Drilling activities can disrupt their habitats, migration patterns, and breeding grounds, potentially leading to long-term ecological damage.

3. Mr. Brunell fails to mention the damage oil consumption does to our climate. Oil drilling and consumption contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating global warming and its associated impacts on the Arctic environment.

4. Contrary to Mr. Brunell’s assertions, energy development — including production, transportation and consumption — is not environmentally friendly. Pipelines leak, ships spill oil, and mishaps can be catastrophic.

5. Since the U.S. produces all the oil it needs, the oil produced at the National Petroleum Reserve would mostly be shipped overseas to Europe and Asia — increasing profits for Big Oil — at the possible expense of our climate and environment.

6. Mr. Brunell states that the drilling would occur on less than 2,000 acres, “a small dot on an 8×10 inch sheet of paper.” He wants you to think any damage would be contained to this area. What he fails to mention is that the oil doesn’t just sit on the 2,000 acres. It gets transported by pipe, ship, and tankers to/from processing centers — an area starting in Alaska and ending in Washington state and far beyond.

I would hope Sound Publishing would publish, along with Mr. Brunell’s opinion, more balanced commentary. Omitting important facts is not only disingenuous, but also “ill-advised.”

Eric Radman, Mercer Island