To respond before
I'm accused of being a hypocrite, yes, I do use oil, and yes, that oil is absolutely vital to my way of life. That comes with growing up in the United States, where even if you live in a cave and kill all your food with your bare hands you benefit from the stability provided by a government and society that is based on an unlimited supply of incoming energy.
Now, our domestic oil consumption has increased from around 15.5 million barrels of oil a day in 1983 to just under 21 million barrels a day in 2007(U.S. Product Supplied for Crude Oil and Petroleum Products
What this means is that we need more oil. Our population has increased and our per capita oil consumption has increased. Based on these data, it follows that as time passes we will need more oil in the future to maintain anything close to the standard of living we all enjoy today. Now, the supply of oil, worldwide, is finite. Infinitely expanding oil needs + finite oil = a nice big energy crash, and we all tear each other's thoats out around big wood-fueled bonfires.
No one wants this. It seems the logical, sane approach would be to slowly transfer ourselves to renewable sources of energy before
a big scary crash forces us to.
Estimated oil reserves in Utah: 355 million barrels.(Energy Information Administration - State Energy Profiles energy data, information, and maps
). If we continue to use 21 million barrels a day, 355 million/21 million = 16.9 days of oil.
Sorry for the book, but my argument is this: Is 17 fewer days of imported oil worth the impact drilling would bring to some of the most spectacular wild country in the world? Wouldn't it be just as effective in the long term if we figured out how to use non-oil, ideally renewable energy for as much of our energy needs as we could, and more efficiently use the oil that we will still need?