Senate Democrats Fight Energy Bill

 

DATE: October 18, 2001

BACKGROUND: Though the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved President Bush's energy bill, in the Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) has refused to bring it to the floor. The reason: He fears losing a debate on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Similarly, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) has refused to let the bill be voted out of committee and Senator John Kerry (D-MA) has vowed to filibuster any bill that allows drilling in ANWR

TEN SECOND RESPONSE: Oil exploration in the refuge is vital to our nation's security. ANWR oil could replace half of all the oil we import from the Persian Gulf for over 35 years.

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: Failure to authorize this Alaska oil exploration in will cost American jobs, further depress our economy ­ possibly for decades ­ and jeopardize our national security. Oil from Alaska's coastal plain could replace half of all Persian Gulf oil for over 35 years, replace all Saudi Arabian Oil for over 30 years and totally eliminate the need for Iraqi oil. In view of the instability and hostility toward the U.S. in these countries, we must act now.

DISCUSSION: The arguments of environmental extremists and Democrats against drilling in ANWR have been phony all along and now they are jeopardizing the well-being of our children and our children's children.

When they say there is only 6 months of oil in ANWR, in addition to using incorrect numbers, they miss the real strategic significance of the oil there, as shown in the responses, above. Since estimates of ANWR reserves were made using old technology, actual reserves are most likely to be on the high side of the estimate or 16 billion barrels. Currently, we import about 2.4 million barrels per day from the Persian Gulf. Of that, 0.6 million comes from Iraq and 1.5 million from Saudi Arabia. Iraq is, of course, openly hostile to the U.S. and building weapons of mass destruction and Saudi Arabia may be unstable for decades.

Exploration in ANWR will involve only 2,000 of the refuge's 19.5 million acres and not harm wildlife, as proven by the dramatic increase in the Prudhoe Bay caribou herd (from 6,000 to 19,000) after we began drilling there.

by Tom Randall, Director
John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs
The National Center for Public Policy Research

Contact the author at: 773-857-5086 or [email protected]
The National Center for Public Policy Research
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