New Year Likely to Bring Another ANWR Showdown, by Christopher Burger

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.

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

National Policy Analysis #371, “Wishes Won’t Fuel Our Economy: We Need Drilling” by Amy Ridenour at

Ten Second Response #TSR21302, Bill Clinton’s Department of Energy is on Record: Oil and Gas Exploration is Environmentally Friendly” by Tom Randall at

National Policy Analysis #305, “Government Restrictions on Domestic Energy Development Contribute to U.S. Dependence on Foreign Oil,” by John Carlisle at

Ten Second Response #TSR73001, “Environmental Groups Target Congress on Bush Energy Plan/ANWR” by Gretchen Randall at


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