"Eyeing the Oil Under the Gulf" [August 18-25], on the promise of offshore drilling, fails to mention the optimistic near future if we drill on the mainland. In addition to the huge ArcticNational Wildlife Refuge, a recent U.S. Geological Survey report describes overwhelming supplies of 3 billion to 4.3 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil assessed in North Dakota and Montana's Bakken Formation at 25 times more than a 1995 estimate. Surely, Russia, Venezuela, and OPEC would drastically increase supply to discourage opening of these fields. And, of course, our sorry trade deficit would enjoy major benefit as well.
Hamburg , N.J. "If Congress removed all restrictions on offshore drilling, the impact on global oil prices would be insignificant." What would you have us do? Wait another year or two or 10 to start on a project that will take seven to 10 years to complete? Would that give us results any sooner? You underestimate private enterprise. Eliminate the government red tape, and you might be surprised by the ingenuity of people who know what they are doing and how to accomplish difficult goals.
James W. Phelps
Byers, Colo. Even if the impact on fuel prices is insignificant, I would rather we spend our fuel dollars on American fuel sources, putting Americans to work and putting our money back into American pockets, than put our money in foreign pockets.
Provo , Utah