New Year Likely to Bring Another ANWR Showdown

 

DATE: January 3, 2003

BACKGROUND: The stage is being set for another Senate confrontation over drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Pro-drilling Senators are considering adding an ANWR provision to the FY 2004 budget reconciliation bill. As reconciliation bills cannot be filibustered under Senate rules, supporters would need 50 rather than 60 votes for passage. 1 Last year, ANWR drilling failed in the Senate by a 46-54 vote. Eight Republicans 2 voted against tapping these oil reserves while five Democrats 3 broke ranks to support it.

Any pro-drilling ANWR effort is likely to be accompanied by a public education campaign, as a late 2002 CBS-New York Times and CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll 4 found that 55 percent of Americans oppose ANWR drilling, while 39 percent support it.

TEN SECOND RESPONSE: The American people have been misled by the environmental left about the benefits and safety of oil exploration in ANWR. This would be an important component of our energy independence as we fight the war on terrorism.

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: While 78 percent of Alaskans support exploring for oil in ANWR, the environmental left has engaged in an aggressive campaign to misinform the public about the facts surrounding the issue. Drilling would lead to an additional 735,000 jobs, it would decrease our dependence upon foreign oil and it can be done in an environmentally safe manner.

DISCUSSION: Environmentalists who are against oil exploration in ANWR claim the oil there would last only six months. This assumes we would use no other source of oil from any anywhere in the world during those six months. 5 The reality is that oil produced in ANWR could:

* Replace 20 years of oil currently imported from Iraq;
* Replace one half of all the oil that comes from the Persian Gulf for 36 years or
* Replace all oil imported from Saudi Arabia for 30 years.
6

If approved, drilling would take place on 2,000 of ANWR's 19.5 million acres -- 0.01 percent of the total area. Ice-based roads, bridges, drilling pads and airstrips would leave virtually no trace of their existence on the tundra after the spring melt.

The Clinton Administration's Department of Energy found that ANWR drilling would be environmentally safe. 7

For more information, please visit:

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.

 

by Christopher Burger, Program Coordinator
John P. McGovern, MD 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 Colin Sullivan, Environment & Energy Daily, "Reconciliation Puts ANWR Squarely in Budget Play Next Year," 12/02/2002.
2 Senators Robert Smith (NH), Olympia Snowe (ME), Peter Fitzgerald (IL), John McCain (AZ), Gordon Smith (OR), Lincoln Chafee (RI), Susan Collins (ME) and Mike DeWine (OH).
3 Senators Mary Landrieu (LA), John Breaux (LA), Zell Miller (GA), Daniel Akaka (HI) and Daniel Inouye (HI).
4 CBS-New York Times and CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll released on November 25, 2002.
5 National Center for Public Policy Research Earth Day 2002 Information Center, citing Michael Grunwald, "Some Facts Clear in the War of Spin over Artic Refuge," The Washington Post, March 6, 2002.
6 See Ten Second Response #TSR101801, "Senate Democrats Fight Energy Bill" by Tom Randall, October 18, 2001, available online at http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR101801.html.
7 "Environmental Benefits of Advanced Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Technology," published October 1999 by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Natural Gas and Petroleum Technology. Selected quotations from this document are available at http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR21302.html.