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Monday, October 31, 2005

Act Now to Help Stop Drilling in ANWR!

Last week, I posted a story and a long rant on the Senate's attempts to open the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration and drilling ... again! Well, it seems that the provision to open up ANWR has made it into the Budget Reconciliation Bill and will be voted on soon by the House and Senate.

I urge you to read my previous post, and then go here to send an email to your congressmen or women and urge them to VOTE NO on the Budget Reconciliation Bill. Send it back to comittee until they axe the ANWR provision. The link above contains a template letter that you can add to or edit and makes it easy to find your representatives and tell them what you think. It will only take a couple of minutes so please make the effort.

Oh, and Happy Halloween!


Heiko said...

I must say I rather like the idea of drilling in ANWR, I don't think the impact on wildlife will be all that large, and 10 billion barrels is a lot of oil, 600 billion Dollars worth of oil at today's prices, in fact. That's a lot of money. If lifting costs are 10 Dollars and profits 10 Dollars, that still leaves 40 Dollars or 400 billion in other words for the State of Alaska and the federal government.

A lot of wind turbines could be built with that much money for example, or every American could be given a nearly 1400 Dollar divident (if given to the poorest 25%, make that nearly 6000 Dollar per person or for a single mother with two children, over 15000 Dollar).

Anonymous said...

I don't know heiko, I don't think 10 billion barrels is worth the pollution and degradation ANWR will suffer. In 2004 the U.S. consumed more than 20 billion barrels of oil every day. This amount will not reach the market until 10 year after drilling. If our country continues increasing oil consumption at current rates, by the time ANWR oil reaches market it will supply the U.S. for less than half a day. I too would like to see our foreign oil imports decrease, but this is not the answer. Indeed, ANWRS' exploitation does amount to a considerable chunk of change, however, I think it is important to look at the larger picture of what percent of consumption ANWR oil will provide. I also personally think that ego (of some of our white house administrators) is at play in making this decision considering that the white house has been overuled a number of times since 2000 when advocating for ANWR drilling. No doubt catering to oil companies is also at work here.

When I consider the costs and benefits to drilling in ANWR it seems the benefits are not nearly strong enough to outweight the costs. I would wager the addition of ego and our administration's need to please Big Oil are tilting the scale.

Jesse Jenkins said...

Jenny's got a good point.

Also, while it is a fairly large chunk of change we're talking about here, it's not going to go to the kinds of things you are talking about. We're not going to see a kick-back check of $1400/person or $6000/person for the poorest 25%. In fact, only $2.5 billion will go to federal coffers and that's a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the national debt, the cost of the war in Iraq or the cost of Bush's tax cuts.

The majority of the profits will go right into Exxon's coffers. And they're already doing just fine if you ask me.

This would be a whole different story if we were really dedicated to getting the maximum benefit out of this perversion of this pristine wilderness (excuse my rhetoric).

This isn't about boosting domestic supply or reducing price at the pump; as we've already talked about, the yearly output from ANWR is about 1/2 a day's consumption at the time it actually makes it to the US and it's unlikely it will make actually make it to US gas pumps at all - this oil will likely be exported as is evidenced by the fact that an amendment to the bill that would have required that ANWR's oil went to US consumption failed.

This isn't about making money to illeviate poverty, to fund renewables or conservation etc; it's about making money for powerful lobbyists like Exxon and about chipping-in to pay back a war that was fought to protect oil interests and tax cuts to appease Bush's wealthy supporters.

Heiko said...

It's 20 million barrels per day ;-)

I am certainly against giving Exxon 600 billion Dollars worth of oil reserves for 2.5 billion Dollars.

On the other hand, if the US has 600 billion Dollars of oil in ANWR* that's a lot of money most of which a sensible government should be able to siphon off to good causes.

I don't understand why drilling has to have a big environmental impact on ANWR. I mean, if they can avoid big oil spills, and I think they should be able to, and they don't have big local emissions, and I am not sure why they should have, then it seems to me, the environmental impact shouldn't be too different from a few wind turbines (steel and concrete structures plus their supporting infrastructure, like roads, power lines, minor spillages from lubricating oil or diesel)?

I haven't given this deep thought, it's what the situation looks like to me at first glance, and at first glance, I am not sure why there is such concern about the local environmental impact.

Am I mistaken about the small local emissions? Or is the area involved truely much larger than I think? Or is there some other really important difference to wind turbines, or some other reason I've overlooked why the impact on wildlife would be much larger than I seem to think?

*assuming 60 Dollars per barrel and 10 billion barrels, the price might be higher, I think Simmons is on record predicting 200 Dollars per barrel, which would make ANWR worth 2 trillion Dollars, or the price might be lower, and USGS has a wide span for their estimate of number of barrels

Jesse Jenkins said...

Heiko, I agree that the oil in ANWR represents a lot of money. However, the US govt is unlikely to siphon off much of its value. It will rather lease it for a small portion to an oil giant that will gobble up huge profits off our resources. Nationalizing the resouce is VERY un-american. So, don't hold your breath waiting for the US to use this valuable resource to perhaps generate funds to bridge to a renewable resource or to promote conservation to keep our petrol-based economy running longer or even to make sure this oil gets to US consumers. All those things would be far to sensible, and sensiblity is apparently not the American Way (making tons of money for oil companies is though).

As far as the environmental impact, sure it's not catastrophic. We're not talking about paving over the whole of ANWR. It is likely similar to the impact of a wind farm. However, I'm not proposing building a wind farm in ANWR either! There's a big difference between the environmental impact of building a wind farm in grazing lands or on previously clear-cut hills and building a wind farm (or oil wells) in one of the last completely pristine and protected wilderness areas in our entire country.

There is some value, perhaps merely psychological (and we shouldn't entirely discount that) in being assured that somewhere out there, even if it's as far off as northern Alaska, there exists a pristine environment we haven't fucked up yet. There are precious few of those places left in the US and in the world. Forgive me for not wanting to sacrifice that for the sake of Exxon's profit margin! It's just not worth it...

Jesse Jenkins said...

And to add to my previous comment: once you defile a pristine wilderness, there's no putting it back the way it was before, barring the long and slow passage of time. That's why there are so few left.

ANWR is one of the last, which, incidentaly, was exactly why it was set aside as a wildlife refuge in the first place at the same time the national petroleum reserve was created in Alaska (i.e. the remainder of the North Slope region which has already been despoiled by industrial-scale operations).

Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed it is 20 million barrels per day, whoops. This then means that ANWR oil could power U.S. demands for about a year, although the oil will not be coming to us in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

"I don't know heiko, I don't think 10 billion barrels is worth the pollution and degradation ANWR will suffer."


A tax of 10% or $100 billion used on environmental remediation could save a great swath of the rainforest.

Yes, ANWR is worth it and opposition to it is as dumb as a box of rocks. Send our money to oil dictatorships instead?!? Nuts!