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Registered: 02/26/01
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Cracking the backs of the environmentalists
    #3383361 - 11/19/04 10:59 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Taking refuge from reality

A Republican-dominated Senate means drilling in the Arctic wilderness will probably go ahead, but not because of the oil reserves, writes Mark Tran

Friday November 19, 2004

The battle over oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a remote corner of Alaska, has raged for over a decade.
Last year, the Bush administration narrowly failed to push through a plan that would allow drilling in this wilderness. But as a result of the November 2 elections, the White House probably has enough votes in the Senate, the last obstacle to drilling, to get its way. A vote could come as soon as February.

A vote for drilling would mean a huge blow to environmentalists who have fought tooth and nail to keep oil companies out of the refuge, a 19-million acre landscape of savage beauty and home to an impressive array of wildlife such as wandering porcupine, caribou and musk oxen.

Environmentalists fear that oil exploration would ruin the refuge despite claims from the oil companies that modern techniques would keep environmental damage to a minimum.

Ironically, the oil companies have not been pushing for drilling. It is the Bush administration, backed by local politicians in Alaska, that has kept up the pressure. For the Republicans, a decision in their favour is the chance to give the environmental movement a real bruising.

As Tom DeLay, the Republican leader of the House of Representatives, said three years ago, a pro-drilling vote would "crack the backs of radical environmentalists." As for Alaska's politicians, the arrival of oil companies in the refuge would bring in more revenues.

Of course, the Republicans do not describe the issue as the chance to put those pesky environmentalists in their place. The administration's position is that the US needs to develop more domestic energy sources, including the proven oil reserves in Alaska, to lessen America's dependence on foreign oil.

But not by much. Americans use 19 million barrels of oil each day, or 7 billion barrels of oil annually. The US interior department estimates that the refuge could have anywhere from 5.7 billion barrels to 16 billion barrels. Even erring on the generous side, the area would yield at most two years' worth of oil, although most estimates put the supply at no more than six months.

That seems precious little oil for the high level of effort expended and the inevitable environmental damage that would ensue. Experts predict that oil production from the refuge could not begin for at least 10 years and the Congressional Research Service, the nonpartisan congressional thinktank, estimates it would take at least 15 years.

So why are Republicans so keen to open up Alaska for more drilling when the prospects are so meagre? Environmentalists suspect that the real motive is to set down a marker. If the White House gets its way on such a contentious issue, there will be no holding back oil companies from other wilderness areas, such as the Rocky Mountains region and parts of New Mexico.

But even if the administration wins its battle in the Arctic, much is happening at the state level that runs counter to the administration's thinking.

In California, where there are more cars per head than anywhere else in the world, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Republican governor, is limiting the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Elsewhere, attorneys general from eight states have filed suit to force major utilities to cut emissions of carbon dioxide.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of companies are working on plans to reduce emissions of carbon, mercury, and other pollutants - in order to meet international standards, regardless of whether the Bush White House supports those standards.

After so many years trying to prise open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Republicans will no doubt feel triumphant, should things go as expected. But it will be a triumph for short-sightedness. Fortunately, some states and businesses are taking a more responsible attitude to energy and climate change.


Don't worry, B. Caapi

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Registered: 06/20/04
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Re: Cracking the backs of the environmentalists [Re: Xlea321]
    #3383389 - 11/19/04 11:09 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

There is no need to pump oil from our own ground, yet. Lets bite the bullet and pay the price for middle eastern oil for now, and when we are in dire need, shoe those elk out of the way and get drillin'!

I am in love with Acidic_Sloth

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Re: Cracking the backs of the environmentalists [Re: looner2]
    #3383418 - 11/19/04 11:15 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

my big truck with 26" rims is jonesing for more oil. open ANWAR.

America's debt problem is a "sign of leadership failure"

We have "reckless fiscal policies"

America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.

Americans deserve better

Barack Obama

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Re: Cracking the backs of the environmentalists [Re: looner2]
    #3383447 - 11/19/04 11:24 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

I think it's too soon to be drilling in ANWR too. We're not desperate enough yet. Things are going to get much worse.

Our relationship with oil is like an addiction. What we need to do now is to either kick the habbit, or keep this little bit stashed up somewhere and forget about it until we're really jonesing.


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Re: Cracking the backs of the environmentalists [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #3383481 - 11/19/04 11:34 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

even if we do get desperate enough, the amount of oil available
is nothing compared to what will be required when the scourge
of peak oil rears it's head on the american dream.

there just isn't enough oil up there to matter to anyone.

All I know is The Growery is a place where losers who get banned here go.

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Re: Cracking the backs of the environmentalists [Re: Xlea321]
    #3384397 - 11/19/04 03:09 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

when the world is lying in bed with the shakes, it will feel like God's own black liquid mercy.


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The Great"Green".......East
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Re: Cracking the backs of the environmentalists [Re: Xlea321]
    #3384987 - 11/19/04 05:13 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

technology is here. we dotn need to be using it. its simple greed and lazyness.

im waiting for martin and campbell to bend over for bushy and let them go along with the off shore in bc.

but alberta has tons, crunch comes they'll find a way to get at it. although i suspect they already know.

anyway its called fast money. bush aint gonna care about in 20 years when we "need" it. he will eb almost dead and have nothing to befefit. its fast money. they have been doing it in bc forests for years.

The seeds you won't sow are the plants you dont grow.

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