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The world from dude's prospective. US politics, science and the environment, sports (mostly my beloved saints), and other worldy matters. After all, the dude abides....

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Chiming in on ANWR

I know it is a bit of old news, but I thought I would give my thoughts on the opening up of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration and drilling since I consider myself an environmentalist of sorts.

I like to look at all situations like this with traditional cost/benefit analysis, so let's look at this situation logically. So, what are we to gain out of this situation? The USGS's best estimate is that we'll gain 3.2 billion barrel's of recoverable oil from the area designated as 1002, which is the 1.5 million acre proposed area for drilling(What they won't tell you is that the bill also opens up the rest of the refuge area for future exploration). What does that translate to? It will supply 3-6% of the current ANNUAL use of oil in this country, depending on the futures market, which is what really determines the price of oil. Not to mention it will take 6-10yrs before we see a drop of it at all. What does that translate to consumer prices of oil? Nada, zilch, none. You and I won't derive any benefits directly. So, what are the benefits? Well, the GOP would argue that ANWR activities would create somewhere b/t 250,000 and 750,000 jobs. That is good, but that number is over a decade old and is waaay overestimated. They would also argue that it is a step in the direction of oil independence, which is complete BS. We import about 20% of our oil from the Middle East. About half of that comes from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the other 10% from other Gulf states. Most of the remainder of our imported comes from this hemisphere, particularly Canada and Venezuela. So, we don't see the difference in the marketplace or in significant volumes.

Obviously by now you can guess I'm completely against this bit of legislation. Why? First off, like I stated earlier, there will be no significant effect on the price of oil or our dependence on imports. There is also the obvious envrionmental impacts associated with the drilling process. You see, the USGS found that oil in the refuge isn't concentrated in a single, large reservoir. It's spread across the coastal plain in more than 30 small deposits, which would require vast networks of roads and pipelines that would fragment the habitat, disturbing and displacing wildlife. There will be billions of dollars worth of damage that will take generations to recover, that is just the facts when you actually commodify the natural resources in the area. Just another example of oil companies being allowed to externalize costs. On top of all this, they have the audacity to produce an EIS (Environment Impact Statement) produced in 1987.....1987!

The bottom line is that this entire process is just a political statement at best, putting more money into the oil lobbyist pocket. Yeah big oil! Yes, there will be an influx of new jobs associated with ANWR drilling activities, but at what cost? Aren't there better areas to explore at this time. Sure there are! And truth of it all is we can get all the new oil we want where we want, but the price of oil will not change until we increase our refining capacity......period. Alternative energy anyone? Not under this administration....dude out

Here is a great non-biased look at the ANWR situation: Link


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