02 Nov 2001 Robert Redford Urges Letters To Senators To Stop “Drill The Arctic” Plan, by Gretchen Randall
BACKGROUND: Actor Robert Redford has sent an e-mail to Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) members asking them to contact their senators about the “pro-oil energy bill” endorsed by the White House. In his four page letter, dated October 31, Redford claims the Republican energy bill would not only open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration but also “pave the ways for energy companies to exploit and destroy pristine areas of Greater Yellowstone and other gems of our natural heritage.”
TEN SECOND RESPONSE: Now is the time to reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil and we can do it in an environmentally-responsible way. Opening the Arctic Refuge is prudent and could provide as many as 735,000 badly-needed jobs.
THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: National security is of great importance today and by opening ANWR to oil exploration, we can help our country become less dependent on foreign oil. Yes, we can help by conserving but today we import more than half of the oil we use. It’s only wise that we tap into more of our own domestic supply of oil.
DISCUSSION: Here are some of the claims Redford made in his letter:
Claim: “It would take ten years to bring Arctic oil to market and when it arrives it would never equal more than two percent of all the oil we consume each year.”
Response: Yes, it will take several years to bring the oil to market – all the more reason we should start now. But according to Interior Secretary Gale Norton in a Washington Times editorial October 31, 2001, a conservative estimate of the amount of oil that ANWR would produce is 7.7 billion barrels, an amount equal to about 20 years of imports from Iraq.
Claim: “We possess a mere 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves, but we consume fully 25 percent of the world’s oil supply.”
Answer: No one claimed we could become entirely independent of imported oil. But ANWR production could potentially replace half of what we import from all of the Persian Gulf for 36 years or all of what we import from the Saudis for the next 30 years. It is wise to reduce some of our dependence to Middle Eastern countries.
Claim: The Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards should be raised to 40 miles per gallon from the present 27.5 mpg.
Answer: Apparently, safety isn’t the critical issue for Mr. Redford. Safety and fuel economy are closely linked. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) studied the relationship between size and safety and found in the11 car models that were downsized since 1977, occupant death rates were higher in 10 of the 11 models after downsizing. New, smaller cars were averaging 23% more deaths than the larger models (for more information on mileage standards and safety, visit http://www.vehiclechoice.org/cafe/brief/safety.html ).
Redford asks NRDC members to visit a website containing a sample, editable automated letter to U.S. Senators opposing ANWR drilling, located at: http://www.savebiogems.org/arctic/takeaction.asp?step=2&item=725
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION see: Ten Second Response: Senate Democrats Fight Energy Bill at http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR101801.html ; Ten Second Response: In Ads, Actor Martin Sheen Attacks ANWR Drilling at http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR101901.html ; National Policy Analysis #324: Environmentalists’ Opposition to Oil Exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Is Unfounded at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA324.html.