Comments about ‘Robert Bennett: A little perspective on an upcoming energy surplus’

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Published: Monday, March 31 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Bountiful, UT

In the long term nothing has changed. Oil wells yield less and less every year they are operational. Eventually they go dry. We must continue to pursue renewable energy and energy efficiency. Yellowstone geothermal is a clean almost limitless source of energy we ought to consider.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

Exporting our fossil fuels would likely result in higher prices here at home. One of the reasons our natural gas is relatively inexpensive is because there isn't significant infrastructure for exports, keeping resources "confined" to limited markets.

The one energy source NOT subject to global political whims, terrorism, or disasters (e.g., Fukushima) is renewable energy. Wind, solar, and geothermal power, once built, are price stable and predictable -- and such sources don't require our military to "protect" them, nor do they create wastes that need government bailouts to clean up (think Moab uranium tailings or Texas/Mexican Gulf oil spills) or store (e.g., Yucca Mountain nuclear waste facility).

Some red states get it. Iowa now procures 27 percent of it electricity from wind, and its rural communities are benefiting with jobs, land lease payments, and tax revenues to benefits schools and public services. Texas gets almost 10 percent of its electricity from wind, with some West Texas high schools sporting giant NFL-size football stadiums for their kids from wind tax revenues.

And studies show diversifying electricity with clean, price stable energy helps reduce gas price swings -- something we'll need under this export plan.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

The United States is in no danger of becoming the "next Saudi Arabia", In 2012 we imported 10.6 million barrels of oil a DAY and exported about 3.2 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products.

We may possibly edge past our 1970 crude oil product peak, but with the extremely short production life of fracked wells we are forecast to be on the crude oil decline again by 2020.

I think it is best to ignore the sensational head lines, and dig a little deeper into our oil situation.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

The way I look at it is. we Knew we had a huge amount of oil in the Gulf and in other places in America. George Bush sir Is very much into oil, thus the 70's price increase. I look what happened when Georg jr was in. I have my conspiracy theory's.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

“The Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, estimates that 30 to 60 percent of the oil shale in the Green River Formation can be recovered,” Mittal told the subcommittee. “At the midpoint of this estimate, almost half of the 3 trillion barrels of oil would be recoverable. This is an amount about equal to the entire world's proven oil reserves.” (from SciForums)

"In it’s May 10 report “Unconventional Oil and Gas Production: Opportunities and Challenges of Oil Shale Development” that covers testimony provided by Anu K. Mittal, Director of Natural Resources and Environment to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, the GAO updated a 2010 report, confirming that more than a trillion barrels of recoverable oil exist in the world’s largest oil shale deposits on Colorado’s Western Slope." (The Coloradro Observer)

Springville, UT

@ Mike Richards, what you imnply is a massive effort that would utterly destroy the environment. I suggest you go to West Virginia or Southwestern Pennsylvania to look at the effects of strip mining. It is disheartening to see the destruction from which we will never fully recover. To all. I know there are special interests such as big oil, natural gas, and coal, all who want to exploit every square inch of possible fossil fuel, but can't we do better? Are we a great innovative nation or not? I'm afraid that corporate special interests, in conjunction with conservatives/Republicans have thrown away our will to be innovative and problem solvers. Making a few bucks in the short term haqs become the new mantra. I can't believe that those who believe in God and in wise stewardship can agree with this approach.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

It is true that oil shale contains vast amounts of energy, but the problem is that the energy is not very concentrated. Oil shale contains about 1/6th the energy density of coal, so you have to process a lot of material to get at a little energy!

Shell oil has spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to make oil shale profitable, but with little success. My fear is that the only way to get any usable energy out of oil shale is eliminate all environmental regs, and legacy costs, and go for the VERY short term profit of a few companies.

American Fork, UT

We shouldn't get too comfortable yet. The US EIA statistics on proven reserves show Canada a lot closer to Saudi Arabia than the USA. A lot. In proven reserves the US isn't in the ballpark. All we've done is find out how to deplete our existing resources faster using technology. As for the oil shale deposits we are always hoping to cash in on, I'm all for it. But it's going to take a sustained high price for oil to make it possible, and extract a horrendous toll on the environment. I'm good with that, but it's not going to be a utopian future if that's what we're planning to do.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah


What I propose is that we use those things that God gave us, to enable us to do the things that we are here on earth to do. If it means extracting oil from the ground, then I am in favor of extracting oil from the ground.

Don't blame "corporations" when you drive a car, heat your home, or have electricity. You, as a customer, are the reason that those evil "corporations" are in business. They serve your needs.

There are some people living in tents just off the main road just east of Cedar Fort. They are the only people that I know in Utah who can claim that they use almost no resources (except for the propane in the many propane bottles stacked near those tents). The rest of us need oil to survive. We can pay the Middle East to drill in their ground (and play games with oil prices), or we can drill in our own ground.

Danbury, CT

Rather than providing energy to an 1800's technology, the answer is to develop new forms of power production, including mobile ones for cars, trains and airplanes. Leapfrog the Germans and Japanese who make better internal combustion engines and develop a technology that forever weans the world off the Iranians, Russians, Venezuelans, etc. Eighty percent of Russia's economy (aka Putin and Friends private bank account) is oil based.

Salt Lake City, UT

Can anyone explain why we import oil at the same time we export oil?
Reminds me of an old Brian Regan joke where he asked if anyone had ever seen 2 logging trucks pass each other in opposite directions? Because if they needed logs over there, and the others needed logs over there...

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Gee, Mike, I'm speechless.

One problem with the drill, drill, drill philosophy of the misnamed "conservatives" (who seem to be against actually conserving anything) is that, according to some studies, if we burn even a third of the reserves we know about right now, we will render the earth uninhabitable. But even if they're wrong, there is only enough oil to fuel our current economy for, what, maybe 100 or 200 years. And then what? Time to start looking at replacing the dying carcase of corporate capitalism with a more sustainable system. It will be easier to do it now than when we are forced to.

Saint George, UT

Norman Borlaug is said to have saved over a billion people from starvation because he discovered a way to increase the wheat yield on an acre of ground, something that revolutionized farming (The Green Revolution). The trouble with those who don't believe in the free market and humans solving challenges is that many start with the zero sum game depression point of view! (There is only so much available and we just need to realize that at some future point it will all come down to two humans around the last berry bush!) Conservative estimates project that this earth can sustain a population of 80 billion people! We have 'enough and to spare' on this earth and it is just up to us to go get it done! The environmentalists need a voice at the table, but not to stop progress in feeding the billions that want food on their table! It takes faith to live in the future and that is the danger of those who don't believe in faith as a motivating force!


I believe that CO2 is good for plants... Plants create Oxygen using the C02 What a cool system we have! It might all work together - just as it was created to do.

Salt Lake City, UT

Re: banderson "We have 'enough and to spare' on this earth and it is just up to us to go get it done! The environmentalists need a voice at the table, but not to stop progress in feeding the billions that want food on their table!

I suggest you all watch "Heat" on PBS Frontline. The costs of CO2 emissions are enormous. Watch the show and see if doesn't change your perspective at least a little.

Alex 1
Tucson, AZ

Hydroelectric, solar, wind, and geothermal have their place, but they cannot replace coal, natural gas and oil neither now, nor any time in the near future. They are limited in what they can do. Sorry to spoil the fantasy, but it is just a fact. You cannot put up enough solar panels to provide for our energy needs, and believing that you can do so when the physics and chemistry tell you you can't doesn't change that reality. The only way you are going to be able to reduce emissions at this point is by doing more nuclear.

So go ahead, do your research and dream of perpetual motion machines if you want, but until you actually show you can do it in a sustainable manner, your pretensions of ecological righteousness mean nothing. At this point, the only way your paradigm of being completely dependent on renewable energy works ultimately is if you start killing people.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Mikhail- “I believe that CO2 is good for plants...”

“Believe” has nothing to do with it - we should stick to facts & science when we want to understand anything about the natural world.

But yes, CO2 is good for plants… but that’s not the issue. The issue is; in closed systems everything exists in balance. Too much of anything will disrupt that balance and change the system.

If we look at the natural carbon cycle, we are putting more CO2 into the environment that it can process. If we keep doing this the system will change and quite possibly in negative ways.

As a real world example of this, just look at Venus – not a lot of trees growing there despite an abundance of CO2.

Salt Lake City, UT

Re: banderson "Conservative estimates project that this earth can sustain a population of 80 billion people! We have 'enough and to spare' on this earth and it is just up to us to go get it done!"

But there is a fly in the ointment as we say, and that is thermodynamics. Burning fossil fuels converts useful free energy to useless bound energy. The chaos of the natural world increases. This accelerates the degradation of the world as a fit place for life.

Nicholas Gorgescu-Roegen "Entropy and the Economic Process"

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

re bandersen

"Conservative estimates project that this earth can sustain a population of 80 billion people!"

To paraphrase Jerry Maguire "show me the math".

I think 8 billion is about tops for any reasonable quality of life.

salt lake city, UT

Bob-it's not suprising the right wing minority threw you out of office in the caucus's of 2012 with view points like these. Conservatives believe there is money to be made and cheap, dirty energy is their God given right. It's unlikely Bob will ever hold office again or continue to be given a platform to speak out with liberal views like these.

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