Murkowski Expected to Offer ANWR Amendment

 

DATE: May 8, 2003

BACKGROUND: Freshman Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is expected to offer an amendment to S. 14, the Energy Policy Act of 2003. The amendment, if approved, would authorize oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge but limit surface area development in the ANWR to 2,000 acres. A similar amendment was approved by the House of Representatives in August, 2001. Oil exploration in ANWR was defeated in the Senate earlier this year as a part of the fiscal year 2004 budget package.

TEN SECOND RESPONSE: The amendment is designed to allow moderates who might otherwise oppose drilling the chance to support a plan that is good for America's future.

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE
: Limiting development to 2,000 acres would mean that more than 99 percent of ANWR's 19 million acres would remain untouched.
1 Exploration would not negatively affect the environment and it would provide thousands of jobs and decrease America's dependence on foreign oil.

DISCUSSION: President Clinton's Department of Energy confirmed that current technology allows exploration to be done in an environmentally-friendly manner. Ice-based roads, bridges, drilling pads and airstrips have become the standard for drilling in the Alaskan North Slope. It leaves virtually no marks on the tundra; ice structures simply melt in the spring.2 After 20 years of oil exploration at nearby Prudhoe Bay, the population of caribou has grown from 3,000 to as high as 23,400.3 Besides, modern infrastructure already exists in ANWR. The Inupiat Native Americans - the only people native to the region - already have an airstrip, power lines and an oil well.4

The benefits of oil exploration in ANWR are numerous. It could provide between 250,000 and 735,000 new jobs5 and has a potential value between $125 and $350 billion (in 1998 dollars).6

The U.S. Department of Interior estimates that ANWR can provide between nine and 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil.7 This would approximately replace what we currently import from Saudi Arabia for 30 years or replace one-half of what we import from the entire Persian Gulf for 36 years.8

Oil exploration also gets tremendous support from those who know best: the people from Alaska, not politicians such as Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts, who opposes ANWR drilling. (Congressman Markey requested a hearing to discuss ANWR's future. When his request was granted, although he has never visited ANWR, Markey did not attend the hearing.9) The Inupiat Native Americans support exploration by a margin of 78 percent to nine percent.10 Pro-drilling resolutions in the Alaskan legislature have received 100 percent support from both parties.11

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

National Policy Analysis #324, "Environmentalists' Opposition to Oil Exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Is Unfounded," by John Carlisle at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA324.html

National Policy Analysis #371, "Wishes Won't Fuel Our Economy: We Need Drilling" by Amy Ridenour at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA375.html

Ten Second Response #TSR21302, "Bill Clinton's Department of Energy is on Record: Oil and Gas Exploration is Environmentally Friendly" by Tom Randall at http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR21302.html

National Policy Analysis #305, "Government Restrictions on Domestic Energy Development Contribute to U.S. Dependence on Foreign Oil," by John Carlisle at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA305.html

Ten Second Response #TSR73001, "Environmental Groups Target Congress on Bush Energy Plan/ANWR" by Gretchen Randall at http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR73001.html

"Top Ten Reasons to Support Development in ANWR," Arctic Power ANWR website, available at http://www.anwr.org/topten.htm as of February 6, 2003

"City of Kaktovik ANWR Survey," January 2000, Arctic Power ANWR website, available at http://www.anwr.org/features/kaktovik.htm as of February 7, 2003

"The Players," Arctic Power ANWR website, available at http://www.anwr.org/features/players/residents.htm as of February 6, 2003

"Potential Oil Production from the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Updated Assessment," U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Washington, D.C., available at http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/analysis_publications/arctic_national_wildlife_refuge/html/execsummary.html as of January 27, 2003

 

by Chris Burger, Program Coordinator
The John P. McGovern M.D. Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs
The National Center for Public Policy Research

Contact the author at: 202-543-4110 or [email protected]
The National Center for Public Policy Research
777 N. Capitol St. NE Suite 803
Washington, D.C. 20002

 


Footnotes:

1 "Top Ten Reasons to Support Development in ANWR," Arctic Power ANWR website, downloaded from the Internet at http://www.anwr.org/topten.htm on May 6, 2003.

2 "Environmental Benefits of Advanced Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Technology," U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Natural Gas and Petroleum Technology, Washington, D.C.

3 U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski, "Drilling Won't Make it Less of a Refuge," The Washington Post, December 10, 2000.

4 Ibid

5 "Top Ten Reasons to Support Development in ANWR," Arctic Power ANWR website, downloaded from the Internet at http://www.anwr.org/topten.htm on May 6, 2003.

6 "Potential Oil Production from the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Updated Assessment," U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Washington, D.C., downloaded from the Internet at http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/analysis_publications/arctic_national_wildlife_refuge/html/execsummary.html on May 6, 2003.

7 "Top Ten Reasons to Support Development in ANWR," Arctic Power ANWR website, downloaded from the Internet at http://www.anwr.org/topten.htm on May 6, 2003.

8 Gretchen Randall, "In Movie Theatre Ads, Actor Martin Sheen Attacks Proposed ANWR Drilling," Ten Second Response, October 19, 2001, available on the Internet at http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR101901.html.

9 "Hearing in Katkovik - 'Where's Markey?'" Press Release, Governor Frank Murkowski, Juneau, AK, April 5, 2003.

10 "City of Kaktovik ANWR Survey," January 2000, Arctic Power ANWR website, downloaded from the Internet at http://www.anwr.org/features/kaktovik.htm on May 6, 2003.

11 "The Players," Arctic Power ANWR website, downloaded from the Internet at http://www.anwr.org/features/players/residents.htm on May 6, 2003.