Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Drilling Debate Steps Up

DATE: 5/22/01
 
BACKGROUND:
A book against drilling in ANWR including comments from former President Jimmy Carter as well as a number of writers will be presented to Congress today at a press conference.  
 
Several environmental groups are running TV ads in five states to convince the public that drilling in ANWR would be detrimental. The states where the ads are running are Alaska, Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska and Oregon. The website http://www.SaveOurEnvironment.org also has a list of all 100 senators and how they voted on ANWR drilling in the last session. You may also see the TV ads on the website. 
 
Competing ads are being sponsored by Arctic Power, a group advocating development of ANWR. More information on Arctic Power is available at http://www.anwr.org
 
TEN SECOND RESPONSE:
Again scare tactics are being used to cloud this issue. The President advocates using existing "environmentally friendly" techniques for tapping these oil reserves while protecing the wildlife and environment.

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: Scaring the American people won't solve our energy crisis. The caribou herd at Prudhoe Bay has nearly tripled in size since drilling began there. New drilling technology allows a very small "footprint" and drilling is only done in the winter. At caribou calving time, all drilling equipment is gone and the roads on the ice have melted to leave no trace.

DISCUSSION: The Energy Information Agency estimates between 5.7 and 16 billion recoverable barrels of oil are under the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This is equivalent to 11-30 years of imported oil from Saudi Arabia. Only about 2000 acres of the 19.5 million acres of the refuge are under consideration for drilling.

Several new oil drilling techniques are now available to allow drilling with fewer rigs and leaving very little if any pad. See technical information at http://www.anwr.org/techno/techno1.htm. The main page also links to information about each state and how drilling in ANWR might affect jobs in your state. 
 
Gov. Tony Knowles of Alaska, a Democrat, also favors "responsible development" in ANWR. He has sent a letter to congressional members outlining his position and is inviting congressional leaders to Alaska to see ANWR and the new drilling technology. See his March 22, 2001 press release at http://www.gov.state.ak.us/press/01082.html.

 
by Tom Randall, Director of Environmental and Regulatory Affairs