Bill Clinton’s Department of Energy is on Record: Oil And Gas Exploration is Environmentally-Friendly, by Tom Randall

BACKGROUND: Today some Republicans and most Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) in particular, turn nearly apoplectic at the suggestion of oil and gas exploration in just 2,000 of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s (ANWR) 19,500,000 acres, claiming the negative environmental effects of such drilling would outweigh the economic and national security benefits of the energy resources. Yet, in 1999, President Bill Clinton’s Department of Energy touted the fact that oil and gas drilling can be done in a very environmentally-sensitive manner. The Clinton Administration, in fact, even believed oil and gas drilling operations could sometimes aid the environment.

Quotes from the Bill Clinton’s Department of Energy publication, “Environmental Benefits of Advanced Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Technology,” October 1999:

“From the tundra of Alaska to the wetlands of Louisiana, a host of advanced technologies enable the oil and gas industry to produce resources far beneath sensitive environments.” -page 56

“On land and offshore, oil and gas producers have developed innovative ways to restore sites to original – and sometimes better-than-original – condition, for diverse uses ranging from housing to agriculture to wildlife habitats.” – page 50

“Logistical barriers – posed by extremely low temperatures, freezing and thawing of the tundra, and remote locations once limited drilling in arctic environments. Today’s operators not only cope successfully with these challenges, but also institute protective measures appropriate to sensitive environments.” – page 58

“Ice-based roads, bridges, drilling pads and airstrips have become the standard for North Slope exploration projects ice-based fabrication is cheaper than gravel, it leaves virtually no footprint on the tundra; ice structures simply thaw and melt in the spring.” – page 58

“When exploratory wells are too far from existing infrastructure to build ice roads large all-terrain vehicles with huge, low-pressure tires carry substantial equipment loads across the tundra, leaving practically no tracks.” – page 58

“If [Prudhoe] Bay, Alaska were developed today using horizontal drilling, only 11 drill sites would be needed, compared to the 42 required in the 1970s. The area’s first multilateral well was drilled less than two years ago; today there are 10 multilateral wells [drilled during the Clinton administration] in the area.” – page 59

“If the entire Prudhoe Bay oil field were built with today’s technology, its footprint would be 64 percent of its current size ­ the area impacted by drilling rigs would be 74 percent smaller, roads would cover 58 percent less surface area, and oil and gas separating facilities would take up 50 percent less space.” – page 59

FOR MORE INFORMATION: We urge everyone interested in this subject to obtain the entire 144 page, plus appendix, publication to see the full context and force of the Clinton Administration ringing endorsement of environmentally-safe oil exploration in Alaska and across the United States. The publication is “Environmental Benefits of Advanced Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Technology,” published October, 1999 by the U.S. Department of Energy, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, Office of Natural Gas and Petroleum Technology.

For more information on ANWR oil and gas exploration from The National Center for Public Policy Research, please see:

“President Bush Urges Senate to Approve Energy Bill” at

“Senate Democrats Fight Energy Bill” at

“Senate Democrats’ Energy Bill Promotes Global Warming Theory” at

“Senator Kerry’s Energy Plan Disagrees with Facts and Himself” at

“Wishes Won’t Fuel Our Economy: We Need Drilling” at


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