New Video Points To Concerns Over Energy Exploration Around Theodore Roosevelt National Park

As energy development continues at a rampant pace in North Dakota, there are growing concerns over how it might impact Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

The following video from the Center for American Progress, a public policy research and advocacy organization, highlights some of those concerns in interviews with park officials and conservationists watching the growing "Bakken Boom."

As we noted back in October, the energy boom is readily apparent from the park, where you can see flickering gas flares at night, hear the rumble of oil tankers and well service vehicles, and notice the wear and tear on campgrounds.

Comments

The key word in this article is balance, work toward energy independence which will provide jobs, and keep a sensible distance from and not within the parks. The problem is that some people agree with the previous statement but “not in my backyard”. So where is the balance?

There will always be extremists on both sides of any argument, and in trying to apply balance to this situation I personally don't mind driving past industry on my way to a park. The motivator for me is to not be beholden to any foreign country with oil, and we can have that energy independence some day.

I spend 1 100th of 1 percent of my time in national parks but turn on my lights and drive my car everyday. That's not to say you can go and ruin our parks but just apply some balance.

This video makes an excellent case on behalf of Theodore Roosevelt ... and other NPS areas.

Yes, the "not in my backyard" attitude does apply at times, but in the cases of areas in and adjacent to areas such as national parks, I'd say it's justified. There are plenty of private landowners elsewhere in the state who are happy to make big profits by leasing their "backyards" for oil and gas development, and more power to them.

Here's why there's no need to sacrifice areas such as Theodore Roosevelt: Given current domestic oil supplies and falling domestic demand, there's simply no compelling reason to continue to push for oil and gas development in the immediate proximity of national parks—especially if such activity is occurring on public lands, such as U. S. Forest Service, BLM and even NPS property. There are more than adequate sources elsewhere in the country to meet current demand.

Just a few examples to support that statement: U. S. crude oil production is at highest levels since at least 1992, and it continues to rise. At the same time, the number of barrels of crude oil imported into the U.S. in February 2013 was the smallest since 1996. And .... demand for refined gasoline in the U. S. continues to fall.

"...production is up in the country a whole to a level that the United States could overtake Saudi Arabia to become the world’s biggest oil producer before 2020, and might be energy independent a decade later, according to a recent forecast by the International Energy Agency." See this link for more.

If you Google "U. S. awash in oil" you'll find hundreds of articles such as the one cited above within the past year. There's some disagreement about how long the current glut will last, but for at least the short-term, the industry has more oil that it can transport, store and sell in the U. S.

In just one example from 2012, a tanker carrying Alaskan crude had to take part of its cargo back to Valdez because storage facilities on the West coast were already full. This article said, "Government statistics show gasoline isn't selling the way it used to, and on any given day crude oil could be backed up in storage tanks ranging from Valdez to the San Francisco Bay to Long Beach... The tanker's inability to offload its oil underlines a startling reality: Stocks of crude oil in the U.S. have been for the last two years at historic highs, while Americans are using decreasing amounts of its most important product - gasoline."

According to a conservative think-tank, "Made-in-USA oil is already displacing imports of similar crude from West Africa, and the market for it could be saturated as early as 2013."

According to an industry publication, "The Bakken Shale [which stretches down from Canada into North Dakota and Montana] will end up being the largest oil discovery the world has seen in 30-40 years."

Sources say it will take the available drilling rigs many years to tap the Bakken field, along with others in the country, and the enormous amounts of water required for drilling may prove to be the one of the biggest factors limiting development. That said, there's no need to rush to tap sensitive areas such as those adjacent to Theodore Roosevelt.

Consumers are frustrated because gasoline prices remain high, but as the industry likes to tell us, the price of oil is set globally, so increasing domestic production has little impact on what we pay at the pump. The primary results of increasing U. S. production: lower costs and higher profits for the industry...but not lower costs for consumers.

And no... that does not mean we should not continue to look for ways to conserve oil and reduce demand. Falling use in the U.S. is at least helping to slow the rise in prices for products such as gasoline in this country.

To restate my view: All acres are not created equal, and given the above, there's absolutely no need at this time to develop resources that threaten areas such as national parks.

Could the lack of demand for oil have anything to do with the 80 million people that have quit looking for work with the resulting lack funds curbing travel and production? Killing off the economy would seem to have an effect on demand.

Trailadvocate -

No doubt the economy has had an impact on lower demand, along with factors such as more efficient vehicles. Whatever the reasons, the results are the same. As described above, the current supply of available oil negates the need to drill near sensitive areas such as national parks.