Posted: January 21, 2011
Whenever I receive an e-mail that has been sent to more than a few hundred people, I usually don't open it. In fact, my first reaction is to hit the spam key and hope that I don't receive any more messages from the sender. But when I received a curious e-mail from some of my closest friends last week, I began to call them to learn more about this particular message.
After I was assured that opening the e-mail would not corrupt my computer, I still had a hard time believing what I read in the attached fact sheet.
The U.S. Geological Service issued a report in April, 2008, that only scientists and oil industry professionals knew was coming. It was a revised report (that had not been updated since 1995) which provided astounding estimates as to the amount of oil located in a large portion of North Dakota, western South Dakota, extreme eastern Montana and parts of Canada.
Known as the Bakken Formation, it would mark the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska's Prudhoe Bay and has the potential to eliminate American dependence on foreign oil. According to the report, the Energy Information Administration estimated the formation to hold about 503 billion barrels of oil. To put that figure in perspective, that's enough crude to fully fuel the American economy for the next two thousand years.
So why haven't our elected officials demanded that this potential reserve be extracted? According to this e-mail and other similar reports, environmentalists and others who don't want domestic oil drilling have thwarted any efforts to do more scientific studies of the region. But, if these estimates are true, then we have oil located inside our borders equal to eight times the amount in Saudi Arabia, 18 times more oil than in Iraq and 21 times more than can be found in Kuwait.
So I decided to do some research on my own to find out how truthful this e-mail is. For the most part, the information provided about the Bakken Formation, also known as the Williston Basis, is correct. But, for some reason, no further studies have been done on these vast oil reserves since 2008.
I am not a geologist and I have the utmost respect for the environment, but it seems like a no-brainer that we should allow our most educated and trusted scientists to determine what the positives and negatives are to extracting at least some of this oil. Maybe I'm missing something; so if my research failed to turn up any pertinent information, please send it my way.I promise to open the e-mail. (firstname.lastname@example.org)