Why Drilling in Alaska's ANWR Is a Bad Idea

Sheryl CanterU.S. oil companies already have permission to drill in millions of unexplored acres, but there is a push now to drill in one area where they don't have permission: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). A terrible idea, drilling in ANWR would:

  • Not produce much oil.
  • Not lower gas prices.
  • Harm the environment.

If you (or someone you know) does not believe this, read on!

Drilling Cannot Produce Enough Oil

A recent U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) assessment says there is "considerable uncertainty regarding both the size and quality of the oil resources that exist in ANWR." Even if 7.7 billion barrels a day could be recovered (as estimated in one government study), "the current upper limit to ANWR oil production is the transportation capacity of TAPS" (Trans Alaska Pipeline System), or 2.136 million barrels per day. To put this in context, the U.S. burns 21 million barrels per day.

Plus, DOE says that the maximum potential capacity – accessing all the oil that's available to be pumped – would not be realized until 2026.

ANWR oil would be too little too late. Our planning for 2026 should not be centered around oil, but rather on new energy technologies. As Thomas Friedman said in a recent interview, we should be shouting "Invent, invent, invent!" not "Drill, drill, drill!"

I'm actually not against drilling. What I'm against is making that the center of our focus because we are on the eve of a new revolution, the energy technology revolution. It would be, Tom, as if on the eve of the IT revolution, the revolution of PCs and the internet, someone was up there standing and demanding, "IBM Selectric typewriters, IBM Selectric typewriters." That's what "drill, drill, drill" is the equivalent of today.

It Would Not Lower Oil Prices

EDF economist Gernot Wagner explained to me why drilling won't lead to lower oil and gas prices. What's mainly driving high oil prices today, he said, is increased demand. And the increase, in large part, is due to the newly mobile millions around the world who've been lifted out of poverty in the last few decades.

DOE predicts that world oil demand between 2010 and 2015 will increase by over 7 percent, and 30 percent by 2030. The U.S. only has 3 percent of the world's oil reserves, and less than one-fifth of that is in federal offshore waters. So even if we were able to tap into the full 3 percent, it would scarcely make a dent in the demand-supply balance.

Then there is this inconvenient fact: OPEC would have the final say on whether increased U.S. production lowered world prices. OPEC easily could scale back total production by the same amount to wipe out any price effects. They did it just this week in response to falling oil prices.

Drilling will not reduce fuel prices, and will not make us more energy independent. The only way to achieve these goals is to reduce our dependence on oil – foreign or domestic – through fuel economy, and a cap on carbon emissions. A carbon cap will spur innovation and shift us into a green energy economy.

It Would Harm the Environment

If drilling for oil in ANWR could possibly do us some good, then perhaps one could make the argument that we should do it – even if it did bring harm to wildlife and ecosystems. But to harm ecosystems for no benefit at all is just plain stupid – and it would cause harm.

The northern coastal plain of ANWR – the proposed area for drilling – has been characterized by the "drill, drill, drill" crowd as a "wasteland". But, says EDF geographer Peter Black, it's in fact a vital part of the ANWR ecosystem. Just because it doesn't look like an appealing tourist spot doesn't mean it isn't worth protecting.

Nor does it make sense to argue that the area opened for drilling would be very small. First of all, these areas tend to expand. The nearby Prudhoe Bay oil fields were originally supposed to comprise 2100 acres, but today they spread over 640,000 acres. Plus, as EDF wildlife expert Michael Bean notes, "The effects of development extend well beyond the physical limits of that footprint."

And there's no question that it would do harm. Oil spills in nearby Prudhoe Bay are common and the consequences are devastating (see this Wilderness Society report [PDF] for pictures and statistics).

There's another issue to consider: Drilling in a wildlife refuge is a slippery slope. What's next? Drilling in wilderness areas? National Parks? What's the value of a protective designation if the land isn't protected?

There Are Other Places to Drill

ANWR isn't our only option for domestic drilling. There are millions of acres already open to drilling where oil companies have not yet explored. As my Mom used to say, finish what's on your plate before you ask for seconds.

This post is by Sheryl Canter, an online writer and editorial manager at Environmental Defense Fund.

This entry was posted in Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

50 Comments

  1. kenzrw
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Very good reasoning and article. When my wife and I were on a tour in Alaska in 2000, we went to Purdhoe Bay and a quide told us that at that time over 80 percent of all the crude oil from the Alaska pipeline went to Japan, NOT the US. Can this be verified? If so, why?

    • Steve Holloway
      Posted July 11, 2010 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      You are a moron. So a few caribou get harmed in the process. MAYBE you are right about it not making oil any cheaper, but it couldn't hurt to try. NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY lives up there anyway. I just tried looking it up on Google Earth, and even they have failed to map this alleged environmental utopia. Drill it.

  2. astroknott
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    You may be sick of seeing my posts but here I am again. Drilling is not a solution in and of itself. while we are developing alternatives we need the fuel. We can't just stop driving and wait for new technology. A.N.W.R. is a vast area. The area proposed for drilling is comparable to a postage stamp on a living room floor. Its a tiny area comparatively. I don't see A.N.W.R. as any great natural treasure in any case. It's a desolate moonscape. Just my opinion. In any case drilling won't destroy it. I have worked on and around oil rigs. They don't rape and pillage and destroy. Other than the wellhead and pumper there is no evidence that a rig was even there when they are done.

    You say there isn't enough to be worth drilling. I disagree, suppose you had a gallon of gas in your garage and your car was almost empty. Would you say, "its not enough! It's not worth the effort!". No you would put it in your tank so you could get to the gas station. Thats what drilling will do. It will keep us going while we develop better alternatives. We have to be practical, and NOT drilling is foolish and shortsighted.

  3. Posted September 12, 2008 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    "…a quide told us that at that time over 80 percent of all the crude oil from the Alaska pipeline went to Japan, NOT the US. Can this be verified? If so, why?"

    That's a level of detail I haven't seen discussed in any articles. Usually a guide would be right about these things. I don't know why it would be, though.

    astroknott – as the article says, a place doesn't have to be a tourist draw to be important ecologically. And there are many other places that oil companies already have permission to drill that they haven't yet explored. There's no reason to drill in ANWR, and many good reasons not to.

  4. astroknott
    Posted September 12, 2008 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    The Japan comment is true as far as I am aware. Any oil drilled will go on the world oil market. More oil will mean lower prices…..I know that won't happen tomorrow.

    The other places that oil companies have to drill are called exploration leases. You are assuming that they haven't been looking or that they have looked and refuse to drill. The most likely explanation is that they have looked and there isn't enough oil to warrant drilling. There MAY be better places than ANWR to drill and that is fine with me. But we need to do our best to find our OWN sources of oil. And not be dependent on other foreign sources. At least as much as that is possible. Please, drilling is PART of the answer. We need it while we work on alternatives. Check out T.Boone Pickens plan. Its not bad and will tide us over for a very long time while we work on something better.

  5. bertmaxak
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    There are so much that is incorrect with Ms. Canter's article, and the comments that follow, I hardly know were to start. Drilling in ANWR is a great idea. That is what the area was originally designated for; oil exploration and drilling. Most of the people of Alaska are for it, and we're the first ones to scream it with conviction when we tell people don't screw up our state! We should drill in the explored places, like ANWR, not the unexplored places. Like most Alaskans, I do not advocate destroying any place for oil production, but ANWR is not the glorious wildlife habitat some would have you believe, and there are many, many places in Alaska that far exceed ANWR, and oil drilling will never happen in those places. ANWR has become a beacon for environmentalists because they count on the ignorance of the American public, and the isolation and remote nature of ANWR only furthers that ignorance. They would have us believe oil rigs would cover and destroy the landscape across ANWR, when the truth is that only 8% of the entire refuge can ever be open for oil drilling! 8%, EVER! The article speaks of the drilling areas tendency to expand. It can't happen in ANWR. A specific area was set aside, and that's all there is. Then there's the comments about sales of oil to Japan. All crude from the North Slope of Alaska (of which ANWR is a part) is sent strictly to U.S. refineries, not Japan.

    You can throw all the number you want from the naysayers, but the fact remains there is a tremendous amount of oil in the very small patch of land that is designated for drilling, and the longer we wait to drill there, the worse off we will be. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to crunch the numbers. If we develop new energy sources, it will not eliminate our need for oil, or other countries' need for oil (to whom we can export). If we have more domestic sources of oil, the less we will need imports. The less imports, the better our economy. What is so hard to understand about that? Oil prices won't be lowered today, but if we start drilling domestically now, we can reduce the drastic price increases of the future. If you have an IBM Selectric Typwriter factory, you don't just slam the doors closed, and shut down just because PC's and the internet come along. You continue production until the demand no longer exists. There is a demand for oil now, and there will continue to be long into the future, even with the advent of new technologies.

    It is not a given that the environment will be harmed by drilling in ANWR. Prudhoe Bay is a great example. 50 miles away, operating for 30 years, and the animals and environment thrive. Anyone who says we can't drill in an environmentally safe way in ANWR hasn't done their homework. Anyone who says we shouldn't because it will destroy some sacred, unique place has been listening to too much propaganda.

  6. Posted September 15, 2008 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    astroknott – I don't know why oil companies aren't drilling in areas where they already have permission. It could be any number of reasons – it would be better to research it than guess. I agree that T. Boone Pickens has a very interesting and promising plan to tide us over until we can switch to new technologies. (http://www.pickensplan.com/ – for anyone who hasn't seen this)

  7. Posted September 15, 2008 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    bertmaxak – the best answer I can give you is today's post, which isn't quite up yet. I'll post the link when it is.

  8. Posted September 15, 2008 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Here's a link to today's post, which addresses through a single, compelling graph based on EIA data why new offshore drilling won't help anything:

    http://blogs.edf.org/climate411/2008/09/15/new_offshore_drilling/

  9. bertmaxak
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    If this is the best answer Ms. Canter, it is severely lacking. I once worked on the North Slope with an engineer who claimed you can make graphs and statistics say anything you want. He was correct. He worked for ARCO. This graph is not compelling because, as with most arguments against drilling, it does not take the entire picture into account. To begin with, it is a very conservative estimation. Very. It also doesn't account for new technologies, or additional reserves such as ANWR, both of which will reduce imported oil consumption.

    Too many people claim drilling in ANWR (or elsewhere) won't help us at the pump today. Of course not. In the same breath they talk about renewable resources, which won't help us today either. It's the long run we need to think about. You and others ask why oil companies aren't drilling in areas where they already have permission. It's because they drill in places where they know the research, exploration, and odds show the highest probablility of extracting the maximum possible reserves. That's ANWR.

    The facts keep getting glossed over in favor of emotional rhetoric. The area of ANWR that was SET ASIDE FOR DRILLING (and has been continually blocked), is a very, very small portion of the reserve. The doom and gloom portrayed about spills has been blown out of proportion. To prove it, all I have to do is reference the very links posted in this article. The Wilderness Society report shows pictures that aren't even from the North Slope, let alone ANWR. Yet when you take all the information posted here; you take all the "spills" and "leaks" and "damage", the major and the minor, and I ask you, in the 30+ years of oil exploration and production on the North Slope of Alaska, how many animals have been harmed? How many caribou, moose, otters, migratory birds, sea mammals, and fish have been oil soaked, or for that matter even oil "damaged"? The answer is a resounding ZERO! Even the tundra and wildflowers are growing back. Quite an attestment to the safety of oil production technology on Alaska's North Slope, and quite the argument against the "supposed" harm drilling in ANWR would cause.

  10. Posted September 15, 2008 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    bertmaxak – If you are looking at a 30-year horizon, then I don't know how you can still be thinking of oil as the answer to our energy needs. In 30 years, if we pass cap-and-trade legislation, we will have completely new energy technologies that don't rely on fossil fuels at all.

    Fossil fuels are not our energy future. There are all kinds of amazing projects in the works that just need the incentive of a carbon market to come up to scale. Fred Krupp wrote about many of these projects in his book, "Earth: The Sequel".

    The graph we posted today shows the more conservative estimate (what's most likely) of what might be obtained from ANWR. The post we are commenting on here gives the most optimistic case (however unlikely), and it's still just a fraction of what we need.

    Drilling in ANWR can produce only a fraction of what we need – and that would be very far in the future. And it would not lower gas prices. The oil market is global, and what we produce domestically is sold back to us at world prices. (I just asked Gernot, an economist at EDF, to do a post on why this is so.)

    It doesn't solve anything, and it would do environmental damage. You say that oil spills on the north shore have harmed "ZERO" animals of any kind, or even the local flora. Even if I hadn't read the many reports of spills, I'd find that claim highly unlikely. Since when do human beings do things with no mistakes or accidents?

  11. bertmaxak
    Posted September 16, 2008 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    So, Ms. Canter, we've come to the crux of our discussion. You have written an article, and numerous comments based on what you believe, rather than the facts. I never stated that oil is the answer to our energy needs. Like many others, you misquote those like myself who say that oil is a PART of our energy future. Too many people seem to forget that oil is not merely the gas we put into our vehicles. It's the lubricants and fluids for those vehicles, and almost every other machine in our lives including those new technologies you claim won't rely on fossil fuels. It's everything from the computer you are typing away on to the tires and brakes on our bicycles to the synthetic clothings of which so many are fond. If you sat and listed all the everyday items in our lives made from oil, that list would be staggering. Fossil fuels are not going away in our lifetime, nor possibly even in our childrens' lifetimes, even with the amazing projects you speak of, even if America leads the way.

    The mantra keep getting repeated that ANWR, and more drilling will not lower gas prices, nor will it solve anything, that it is only a fraction of what we need, and any results will only be seen far into the future. The exact same things can be said for all the "possible new energy technologies." No one item will be a solution, and it's not going to happen overnight. As far as domestic oil, if it's produced domestically, it can be sold domestically.

    Prudhoe Bay was touted by the pessimists as short lived, it won't solve anything, that it wouldn't produce much oil, and it would destroy the environment. 30 years, 16% of the nation's domestic supply, and no enviromental catastrophies later, those naysayers are proven wrong in the extreme. Much like the ANWR story. And as I began, we are at the crux of the discussion. You don't believe ANWR will solve anything. You believe it will cause environmental damage. You don't believe animals haven't been harmed by oil development on Alaska's North Slope, yet you want to ignore the facts, and you expect others to do the same. You believe ANWR will be destroyed by oil development, yet the facts show that the development for the last 4 decades has not destroyed anything, and the technology is only improving.

    Drilling in ANWR is a good idea for Alaska, and this country. It will happen eventually because more and more people will discover the truth about the area and see through the misinformation and blatant lies that are currently being dispersed as "facts." It would behoove you, Ms. Canter to learn more about the facts regarding ANWR, rather than espousing merely what you "believe."

    Prove me wrong. Let us know what biological and environmental damage has been done on the North Slope of Alaska. Where are the oiled birds? I'm a little sceptical regarding reports of spills. I know they happen, sometimes in large quantities, but I've been qualified to work with hazmat for 25 years, and I know that if we dump our old coffee out the back door, it's considered a "reportable spill." Prudhoe is about 50 miles from ANWR, and if animals are dead or dying anywhere up here, someone must have reported it.

    There isn't a single solution to our nation's energy needs, but not drilling for more oil is the opposite of a solution. Drilling in ANWR is a safe and viable part of the solution. It should have started a long time ago. Let's start now.

  12. mikew
    Posted September 16, 2008 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    This is not going to have an impact for 10+ years — and no telling what will happen by then. Electric cars and alternate energy will be here faster than we think (it is now market driven). I'm not convinced we'll need this oil at all. And why aren't we saving some of our options. If we burn up all our oil now, that sure reduces our options in the future. Let's focus on breaking our oil addition. The drill drill drill mentality is keeping us dependant on oil and keeping us from moving forward. Oil money also supports our enemies, regardless of whether we get some of it from US sources, most of it come from the bad guys.

  13. tofraser
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    It's been clear to me that the fight over the Refuge is purely symbolic, otherwise there would be more activity to drill in the areas that are available. I was impressed with the documentary Oil on Ice, which is still timely after all these years. In it, we get to see that this struggle isn't rational; it's emotional, it's human. It's each side's effort to push/defend their values. It's sad to me that such a beautiful and pristine place may get destroyed because of a need to win at all costs.

  14. mikes
    Posted September 23, 2008 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    I have been to the ANWR. It is the perfect place to drill. There are no trees, scrubs, or even grass (there is some moss). In places, the oil is close enough to the surface that slicks form on the puddles in the summer.

    It is the PERFECT place to drill.

  15. buddyboy
    Posted October 1, 2008 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    A question not addressed above. Who said and why would it take 10+ years to get any usable oil from new drilling?

    The Hoover Dam was built in 4 years for Christ's sake, and that was back in the early 30's. Granted, it took almost 8 years to get through congress before construction.

    Is the Inefficiency of the current legislature part of the seemingly long time estimate?

  16. Posted October 1, 2008 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Who said and why would it take 10+ years to get any usable oil from new drilling?

    The U.S. government says so – the U.S. Department of Energy. Follow the links in the post. Every statement made in a post on Climate 411 is documented with a link back to the original source.

    It has nothing to do with legislative inefficiency. It has to do with geology. Read the links and you'll see.

  17. bertmaxak
    Posted October 5, 2008 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    The news today states 500,000 gallons of crude spilled into the Gulf due to hurricane Ike. The damage to wildlife, and the environment will be tallied for decades. A natural disaster that cannot, and will not ever happen in ANWR. I know your mindset will not be changed Ms. Canter, but you've had ample time to research the "spills" and "damage" done on the North Slope of Alaska. What have you found? Little or nothing, even with the recent, and largest spill of 210,000 gallons due to gross negligence on the part of the oil companies.

    You claim that every statement made in a post on Climate 411 is documented with a link back to the original source. This does not necessarily make it fact. Quite the contrary, some of the information is based on speculation and opinion from those who are adamantly opposed to drilling in ANWR; at any cost. There are comments here from those such as mikew that we will all possibly be driving electric vehicles in 10 years, or that we will burn up our oil now, and drilling for more oil will prevent us from moving forward with new technologies. Comments from him and tofraser claiming the fight is "purely symbolic", and that ANWR will "get destroyed" from drilling are examples of the myths fostered by articles such as yours that propagate one side of the story only. A side that wants people to continue to believe certain falsehoods. The film "Oil on Ice" is a prime example of the propaganda for anti-drilling.

    Ms. Canter, you've cherry-picked your links and evidence to include those who do not support drilling in ANWR for various reasons. Most who have researched the subject know that the truth is much greater than you have presented.

    ANWR WILL produce much oil.
    ANWR along with other large-field discoveries of domestic oil WILL stabilize domestic gas prices in the long run.
    Drilling in ANWR WILL NOT harm the environment. Most especialy it will not destroy it.
    The facts support this.

    The Trans Alaska Pipeline is now only half full. Filling it to capacity is not a bad thing. That is why it's there. Safe, environmentally sound oil drilling has been done on the North Slope of Alaska for 40 years. Drilling in the small area designated as 1002 in ANWR (not ALL of ANWR) will be even safer, and contrary to a few critics, will make the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil in a relatively short time. This is why the area was designated as it was.

    I don't stop buying vegetables from the grocery store because my garden will sometime soon give me a better product. We don't stop drilling for petroleum because we will sometime soon have alternate energy. If our plans don't pan out, we have a back-up.

    I look forward to your reply on how the North Slope (of which ANWR is a very near part) has in any way been destroyed by oil development. If you cannot prove this, it certainly discredits much of the argument against drilling in a small chunk of ANWR.

  18. khen
    Posted October 9, 2008 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    As much as we may dislike it, oil prices MUST stay high in order for the domestic market to demand alternative energy resources. Funding will never be passed by the American people unless there is a direct impact on our pocketbooks. Once oil is abundant and plentiful and relatively inexpensive (whether from foreign or domestic sources), Americans will climb back in their Expeditions and Hummers and go on as usual.

  19. Posted October 15, 2008 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    bertmaxak – I'll break it down into its simplest bare facts:

    – The U.S. uses 25% of the world's oil reserves.
    – The U.S. owns 3% of the world's oil reserves.

    There is not enough oil in Alaska to solve the problem. There is so much more oil in OPEC nations that they need only tweak supply to wipe out any price savings from the small increase in supply that drilling in ANWR would produce.

    We will never be energy-independent as long as we rely mainly on oil for our energy needs. The only solution is a different source of power. The math is very clear here.

  20. bertmaxak
    Posted October 17, 2008 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Ms. Canter, I dislike being redundant, but again you misquote and misdirect. I have never stated that oil is the answer, and I have never said that we should rely mainly on oil for our energy needs. On these points we seem to agree, but I do not have to rely on my background in calculus and trigonometry to see that your math, and your facts are flawed. The U.S. uses 25% of the world's oil PRODUCTION, not reserves. The 3% figure on U.S. reserves is highly debatable.

    The math IS very clear. As the U.S. develops alternative energy sources, we will rely less on imported oil. If we produce more domestic oil possibilities, such as ANWR, we need even less imported oil, because quite simply, our use of petroleum is not going to simply disappear. You keep skewing the facts regarding the "small" amount of oil to be gained from ANWR, yet simple math shows that as we reduce our imports and add alternatives, the oil in ANWR becomes exponentially huge. The other fact that keeps getting twisted is how we, as a nation should look at the "long-term" when it comes to alternative energy, yet in the same breath, people want to disregard the long-term when it comes to domestic oil production. This shows a very narrow focus, serving only anti-ANWR rhetoric. ANWR opponents seem to have unlimited patience for alternative energy sources, yet have none for the production of domestic oil? Some people keep rationalizing that because oil will not flow from ANWR NOW, that it is somehow not prudent to start NOW.

    As with Prudhoe Bay, ANWR will yield large amounts of domestic oil for decades to come. Expert analysis to back this up is abundant. Drilling in ANWR is a good idea, and I still look forward to your reply, Ms. Canter, as to what damage has been done to the North Slope of Alaska by oil development.

  21. kevinbp
    Posted November 9, 2008 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    Just because an oil spill hasn't happened doesn't mean it wont. Even with the best technology people are still idiots. Gas companies dont give a crap about animals that live around their plants. All they can think of is money. You say that it is necessary to drill because it will partially solve out dependence on foreign oil, why? It will take years to actually come to the market. Just because something isn't as beautiful as you think doesn't mean it should be drilled in. What would you think if an oil company found a large amount of oil under your home? Would you be happy that you are doing the American people good by letting them tear down your house so that others can pay less at the pump? Keeping gas prices high is the only way people will try to find a new type of energy source. Stop quoting Sarah Palin, shes fucking retarded. Everyone knows that but you.

  22. bertmaxak
    Posted November 14, 2008 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    It appears, kevinbp, that you haven't read any of the information that has been presented prior to your post, nor have you researched anything about this subject. Oil spills have happened, and will continue to happen. In the recent, largest spill ever on the North Slope, the oil company was fined $20 million, yet most believe it was not a large enough penalty for their negligence. I believe this also. The oil companies' bottom line is their money, but to say that they don't give a crap about the animals that live around their plants is a ludicrous statement at best. The oil industry on the arctic plain of Alaska is one of the most regulated and scrutinized industries on the planet. Harming the wildlife of that area would be a political and PR nightmare for these companies, and it would ensure that they never get ANWR opened for drilling. It's necessary to drill where there are large amounts of domestic oil, such as ANWR. It will greatly aid in relieving our dependence on foreign oil, but as with the sterotypical American attitude, you want it NOW, so if it takes years to develop, you rationalize it isn't worth it. I have a reality check for you: ANY type of new energy source will take years to develop. The people of Alaska don't want drilling in that small chunk of ANWR because it isn't beautiful. In its own way, it is. But it is not the shangri la that you and others have been duped into believing. It's where the resource is. It was set aside for this purpose.

    Let me ask you. If the oil company wanted to drill under your home, what would you do? Would you sell out, for a profit? Probably. Well, in Alaska the oil companies want to drill in a small, remote part of the state, responsibly, and not under anyone's homes. And they will be doing the American people good. Everyone wins.

    As for Sarah Palin, she has a long list of accomplishments to her credit. Before becoming the first female governor of Alaska and a Vice Presidential candidate, she was twice elected mayor of the fastest growing city in the state. She was the president of the Alaska Council of Mayors, elected by her fellow mayors. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism, and is chair of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, chair of the National Governors Association (NGA) Natural Resources Committee. She created Alaska’s Petroleum Systems Integrity Office to provide oversight and maintenance of oil and gas equipment, facilities and infrastructure, and created the Climate Change Subcabinet to prepare a climate change strategy for Alaska. She's implemented a competitive process to construct a gas pipeline, which now has not just one, but two companies actively competing to build a pipeline to the lower 48 (alternative energy, and one of many projects that benefits you, the selfish American). This is something no other Alaskan governor has even come close to doing. The CEO of Conoco stated at the announcement of their pipeline build that Governor Palin's competitive AGIA process was a direct reason that his company decided to start this project. These accomplishments are but a fraction of what Sarah Palin has done, yet you want to call her "f'ing retarded"?

    Your post, kevinbp is an example of why the decision for drilling in ANWR should be left up to those who have the knowledge and foresight to do it properly, and not left to emotional environmentalists and angry, non-factual bloggers.

  23. flhr
    Posted November 16, 2008 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    Hello I'm an international student who's having a BIG headache writing a paper over this issue. I know close to nothing about ANWR and am trying to learn as much as possible for my paper.

    I would like to thank Ms Canter for her side of the argument and the links to government sites to support them. I would also like to thank bertmaxak for their example of Prudhoe Bay.

    However, I would also like to know more about the other side.

    Does anybody know where does it say that ANWR was originally set aside for drilling? As far as I know (which may not be much I'm sure) is that it was originally intended as a federal protected area.

    Also:
    "ANWR WILL produce much oil.
    ANWR along with other large-field discoveries of domestic oil WILL stabilize domestic gas prices in the long run.
    Drilling in ANWR WILL NOT harm the environment. Most especialy it will not destroy it.
    The facts support this."

    I would also like to see the facts for this. Thank you for putting up with my ignorance.

  24. bertmaxak
    Posted November 16, 2008 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Hello flhr. I'm a little perplexed. With the information age at our fingertips, it seems a little odd you would have any trouble finding out about ANWR, but I can understand how it would be difficult to write a paper if you know close to nothing about ANWR. Here are some links that should answer most, if not all of your questions. Some articles and sites are strictly facts, some are opinions. The Time Magazine article link and the Snopes link each give viewpoints from both sides of the issue.

    http://www.anwr.org/backgrnd/backgrnd.htm
    http://blog.heritage.org/2008/06/29/the-truth-about-anwr/
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/gasoline/anwr.asp
    http://www.cfact.org/site/print.asp?idarticle=176
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_Refuge_drilling_controversy
    http://mises.org/story/3047
    (An article titled: drilling would provide quick relief)
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2002225669_murkowski31.html
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,179005,00.html
    http://www.time.com/time/columnist/waller/article/0,9565,170983,00.html
    http://www.heritage.org/press/commentary/ed031402c.cfm
    http://www.anwr.org/features/lessrefuge.htm

    I hope this helps, and does not add to your headache. Remember, ignorance is not necessarily a bad thing. It can be overcome with knowledge.

  25. flhr
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the links. They are very helpful, but the reason why I'm having a big headache is because it is difficult to find primary resources supporting either side, and the secondary sources I have read online have their own agenda.

    The only primary source I can find is the USGS website, which is giving me a headache to analyze.

    Still, thanks for the links, they have been a great help.

  26. bertmaxak
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Why didn't you say so flhr? I can understand your headache. Try this link:

    http://alaska.fws.gov/asm/anilca/toc.html

    It is called the "Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act". You are looking for Title X, section 1002, and section 1003. These are the facts without any agenda.

  27. blazinkrze
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    I am always amazed how many people use the crutch of environmentally unsafe in regards to drilling in ANWR. Let me educate some of you who still ignorantly use this as a reasoning platform.

    First, because "ANWR can't supply America's demand we shouldn't produce it at all." Why is this an absurd statement? Let me explain to you. Most environmentalist groups receive their money from oil producing 3rd world countries to pass out propaganda, such as this. Why you say, because they are VERY intelligent when it comes to not biting the hand that feeds -I'll leave it at that.

    The people of America (not the rabid tree huggers) have established a government that cares about the environment. I have seen this first hand by working up on the slope, and the many regulations that have to be followed to the T on these oil fields are ridiculous at times, but are also important to everyone that works here. I don't necessarily care for any major oil company; its clear they care about profits but that isn't the issue, environmentally safe is the issue. I can tell you first hand that these oil fields that rape the land and kill the wildlife, has been said by individuals that have never been past the Arctic Circle. Clearly no New York columnist or Green peace multi-car owner has had to miss his flight home after a three month hitch, because hazing of the caribou is not allowed, and they can sleep on the roadways as long as they please. Yet this is beside the point as well.

    When people think of drilling, they think of a Hollywood movie like Armageddon where it shows big pipes and muscles and mayhem all at once. This is how they drilled in the 20's, and the mentality of drilling is so far behind in America. Two-inch coil tubing is it. A Geological Engineer controls this coil tubing to go exactly where he wants it in the ground to produce the reservoir only. This reservoir is rock, not a puddle of oil. It was difficult to produce back in the 20's, but with new technology changes were still producing an oil field that was suppose to last only 20 years, with a pipeline (TAPS) that has doubled its life expectancy. Explain that ANWR haters.

    There is no harm to the environment in this process. I wouldn't lie, why would I care to, this is the 21st century. Freedom of speech is guaranteed, even way up here where the continental U.S. thinks the opinions don't matter. The truth is: producing a reservoir hundreds of feed below the surface has become an art, and is beautiful to see -for all you art adorers out there. The wildlife has more rights than humans here. If I were to walk out on the tundra I'd be fired for life here. Bears, and Caribou take refuge underneath the buildings here. Pristine waters and tundra as far as the eye can see is all that is here, and it’s nice to enjoy.

    Now, this is the biggest point I have to make. Environmentalists are the real destroyers of earth, and I'll tell you why. America, land of opportunity, freedom, and safety for the environment has become hypocrites. We don't have faith in our country, and is evident by giving our money to governments that hate America and hate the environment. We have the technology to drill in the right way, and yet we'll have our oil come from countries that rape the land and are far behind us in the technology age.

    Why you say, to save a buck or two, cheaper labor? No, it’s the liberal propaganda that we cannot take care of ourselves as a nation. We need the government to take care of us, and this is evident now with welfare for big American companies that now need the government to save them.

    America needs to buck up to the responsibility of taking care of ourselves while waiting for a technological advancement such as: fuel cells (what a novel idea). Lord knows Wall Street needs more non-credited money in the market instead of borrowed money. This is what the thousands of workers (and thousands more to come) will do on the slope. Invest, and hope to retire younger than too old, so they can spend time with their families and loved ones.

    All you haters of drilling change the station… be more American, and actively pursue alternative energy sources instead of complain all the time. Do something productive instead of telling us everything we already know about global warming, and the thousands of acres of land that will soon be covered with water. Get the oil companies to blow more coin on the fuel cell. This is the future.

  28. ramanlover26
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    (Please excuse the name) I am trying very hard to be neutral on this issue, and would like to bring up the point about endangered wildlife. I have heard that musk oxen are almost as stupid as they look, and will start stampeding away if disturbed.. Currently their numbers are below 300 in ANWR (correct me if I'm wrong), and it would be a shame to see a calf die if its parents forgot that junior was 10 miles behind them nibbling on a patch of grass because they heard a strange noise and ran away. Also blazinkrze, if bears rest right next to the drill site, and there are spills often (when I say often I mean… well I don't know what I mean but they do happen), isn't there a good chance of them being contaiminated? If a bear gets oil on it, it's likely to die, and bears have such low reproduction rates that every one of them counts.. please don't be mean to me, I'm new to blogging!

  29. blazinkrze
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    Hello ramanlover, where do I start… A drill site doesn't spill oil, this would cause profit loss for an oil company. Every little bit counts so drill sites that "spill" oil don't exist. Every structure, that I was referring to earlier, that wildlife may shelter themselves with on a hot summers day (believe it or not) are suspended off the tundra five to ten feet. These structures are totally enclosed with concrete floors, sumps, and engineered fail-safe precautions in case something were to leak. Emergency shut down valves that sense a drop in pressure immediately activate to regulate such a improbable instance. The only way a musk ox or bear would be contaminated with oil is by busting through four inch thick insulated steel frigerator doors, and somehow break through the steel grates to get into the sump area and wait for oil to contaminate them from the "improbable instance."

    Accidents do happen on the slope though. There are cases of spills on occasion, and with anything you have to break eggs to get an omelet, so no job has never not had an accident. Accidents are something that comes with any job and in turn make the job even more sophisticated to protect against the reoccurrence. Yet with all the accidents that have happened on the slope I have yet to hear of any that have contaminated a bear or musk ox, or has been catastrophic at all for that matter. The majority of accidents that happen on the slope are from slips, trips, and falls from the workers up here. Not to mention there is a designated company of under worked oil clean-up crews that spend the majority of their days cleaning up drops of oil left from trucks that have been parked.

    Bears, musk ox, and caribou aren't stupid, but in fact intelligent for mammals. Bears are becoming very aware that they can eat humans for food, and make attempts at this everywhere in AK. The truth about endangered wildlife is that having road systems, and structures allow caribou and musk ox a better road to travel than the tundra. They have priority here. They have become so used to this priority that it seems they gravitate to these areas for ease of travel on their migratory routes, so big diesel rigs waiting for the wildlife to move on don't even intimidate the musk ox, caribou, geese… To startle an animal such as this would require irrational waving of the hands and running in their general direction I'm sure. Even then, they'd probably look at you for a moment while turning to continue chewing their cud.

    Also, the wildlife is peaceful. They don't hang around where work is being done. It's silly to think that a bear would hang out next to a drilling rig. Even then drilling rigs are totally enclosed as well, so the attempts of getting covered with oil aren't looking promising for the bear. I hope I answered your question; it seems my short answer as become a novel.

  30. researcher
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    i have been researching this topic from both sides for 2 weeks now and i have found no reason not to drill, our economy is bad as is. if we dont start drilling now were not gonna see enough profit from it in time to do any sort of help that we need. it will open up new jobs and give us that boost while only taking a small portion of anwr.

    the only down side is we make a pretty place not quite as pretty and for some reason beauty is alot more important that keeping our nation in good shape so these selfish asswhole can feed their families, 50% of the royalties will go towrds research on finding a new source of energy.

    tell me one reason why we shouldnt drill.

  31. Posted January 16, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I am a retired firefighter. Lately I am feeling degregationproblems with my memory and I am concerned about it. I was considering memory practice, or omega3 fish oil capsuls. What is the best option?

  32. Posted January 16, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I found a web site is China that sells those fish oil capsules that take care of the fatty acids. I am not sure that they are healthy to eat but I am tempted by the cost. Any suggestion how to have better control over the quality of my diet supplements?

  33. Posted January 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I found a web site is China that sells those fish oil capsules that take care of the fatty acids. I am not sure that they are safe to eat but I am tempted by the cost. Any suggestion how to have better control over the quality of my diet supplements?

  34. Posted January 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    The cost of fish oil products has risen significantly. I am giving my son 2 capsules a day to help him with math. Does anybody know where I an find an affordable solution? By the way, it is great. His grade went up 2 grades after consuming fish oil capsules.

  35. Posted January 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I found a web site is Thailand that sells those fish oil capsules that take care of the fatty acids. I am not sure that they are safe to eat but I am tempted by the price. Any suggestion how to have better control over the quality of my diet supplements?

  36. Posted January 21, 2010 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much, Great information… You keep writing and I'll keep reading.

  37. Posted January 28, 2010 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Hi, I browsed your blog while searching yahoo for coffee. Your website is really cool and I love the theme. Just thought would let you know that I have bookmarked it. Also on a couple of pages I also encountered a 404 not found and after refreshing a couple of times was able to view the pages. Thanks

  38. omgbbqftw
    Posted February 15, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    couple things. drilling would only require couple acres of the land with the newest drilling technology that we've developed, leaving wildlife undisturbed. by doing so it racks in billions to the U.S. helping the economy a little bit to get back on its feet. it then brings in a few million each year to canada making our negotiational relationships and ties stronger with them. by allowing oil companies to drill they can give a reasonable amount of the profit to the ANWR to create other wildife reservoirs and bring in a substantial income to their refuge. omg i fixed the problem take a bath hippies.

  39. Mobilemuzz
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    One of the later posts wonders at why 80% of the Prudhoe oil goes to Japan at present; that was a long range agreement Kissinger signed under Nixon…Japan needs
    the oil/the US needs Japan to buy its treasury notes…that was the arrangement and
    it still stands today. Well take the oil?..nah, cant do that cuz the country is so
    broke it needs Japan to buy our notes and as of today, they are the #1 buyer/holder of US Treasury notes..its called a 'gotcha' that has come back to bite ya.

  40. Lawrence Dunham
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Drilling in Alaska and else where is only one part of being energy independent. look at the total plans before you start to pick at it like it is an infected scab!!!!

  41. HAY
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    You have know Idea first off the Place where they would drill is ONLY 1.5 MILLION OUT OF 19 MILLION and it might not be able to completely replace America oil but it would OFFSET IMPORTS from OPEC for seven years and Saudi Arabia for 19 also there is ton of hard evidence saying there will be rapid RELIEF AT THE PUMPS now that i have addressed your debate i will make some new ones it would create 736,000 NEW JOBS we would have the exact opposite of what you said would happen also there is even evidence saying it HELPS THE ANIMALS. IF YOU DISAGREE WITH ANY THING PLEASE USE MY WORDS AND RESEARCH IT

  42. Chuck Moore
    Posted March 26, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Ms Carter is wrong claiming the length of time to get production going is a matter of geology for it is nature. Drilling activity in this area of Alaska is limited to 100 days a year. One explatory well was drilled in 1976.

    The problem is also government requirements and delays created from groups opposed to such drilling.

    A nearby example of the lengthy time to get oil flowing is found on NPR-A. First production has been held up for three years because CONOCO-PHILLIPS has not been able to obtain the needed government permission to build a pipeline off of eastern NPR-A to the nearby Alpine satellite field which is connected to the Alaskan pipeline.

    Ms Carter's link to the following graph is nonsense for ANWAR drilling would be on shore and the graph is off shore drilling http://blogs.edf.org/climate411/2008/09/15/new_offshore_drilling/

    The likely hood of oil production from ANWAR is greater than NPR-A (about 45 miles west of Prudhoe Bay. There is more estimated oil in ANWAR than NRP-A. ANWAR would be on 1.5 million acrea while NPR-A covers 20 million acres. Connoco_Phillips has returned 1.5 million acres to the Federal Government that it paid millions to lease.

    Oil, even 30 years out will still be a significant part of America, not just gas for cars but almost every aspect of our lives.

    More domestic oil means less imported oil. Weither it will or won't reduce the price of gas is immaterial.

  43. Chuck Moore
    Posted March 26, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Natural gas from Alaska has been going to Japan since 1969. My dad was involved with the construction of the two LNG tankers that came into service in 1969 to transport the natural gas to Japan. No government conspiracy for purchasing government bonds, just a bit a capitalism.

  44. Chuck Moore
    Posted March 26, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Here is a perfect example of why not to listen to the politicians when it comes to energy matters. Below is the complete quote from Houston Congresswoman Shelia Jackson-Lee, of Houston, House of Rep debate 17 July 2008 on HR 6515

    ""I know very well about the Alaskan pipeline because it was being worked on in the 1970s, so we do have a right in this legislation, H.R. 6515, to ask that the Alaskan pipeline for natural gas for Americans be utilized, be put in place. It might be time now to declare a national emergency and take control of that pipeline and get it working.""

    Government take over a pipeline that does not exist..?? Enough said

  45. Chuck Moore
    Posted March 31, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    The Federal government caused delayed getting the first oil off NPRA is 4 1/2 as of today and still growing. The latest road block was a recient denial by the Army Corps of Engineers. First production has been pushed back from 2012 to at least 2014.

    This government caused delay is particularly galling looking back to the summer of 2008 when the Congressional likes of DeFazio, Hinchey, Pelosi, Markey, Van Hollen, Hoyer, Rham Emmanuel (the list goes on) claiming oil companies were sitting on billions of barrels, companies were not developing leases and there are no obsticals once a lease is signed. What a pack of liars.

  46. Chuck Moore
    Posted March 31, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    To DionneWillis and other like minded folks, "The proper way out" is for people to live within their means. This very simple truth was willfully ignored by too many people for too many years.

  47. Chuck Moore
    Posted April 1, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Pingback and Ms Canter – no one in O&G has ever stated that drilling will achieve energy independence. So why continue trying to debunk a claim that does not exist.

    To restate the very simple truth – oil and gas will remain a major part of the US economy for the next 30 years (according the EIA). This is the reality and not an energy company conspiracy. Oil is more than just the gas in you vehicle but a base product in almost everything we use in our daily lives.

    There is NO immediate alternative to O&G. So until there is, oil and gas will still have to be taken out of the ground.

  48. Chuck Moore
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    I have not proposed any solution until now. My previous posts have to been to point out the fallacy of Ms Canter's arguments and the reality Before I do, I want to point out further the fallacy of Ms Canter's last point that companies have millions of acres available so work those first and stop sitting on them.

    In NPRA, 11.3 million acres of the 22.6 acre area is available for lease. Of that 11.3 meg total, 170% has been offered for lease. IOW, 70% has been offered for sale more than once. Of the 11.3 million acres, 5.4 million was leased over 5 sales (1999 thru 2008). As of today, 3 meg is under lease, meaning about 2.4 meg (44%) has gone back to the government.

    Reasons for the present energy situation

    1. For decades, energy has been delivered cheaply to the end user and the public is not willing to pay more. The cheap price has been due to supply, delivery efficiency and using uncomplicated energy sources. Vehicles was one product (oil) and electricity mainly from nuclear, natural gas and coal. Though oil prices have risen and there is less of it, coal and natural gas are still inexpensive and plentiful. US oil production is more expensive because all of the big oil finds in the US are history (with Prudhoe Bay being the last in 1968). In 2008, there were 79,000 onshore wells on Federal land producing about 500,000 barrels a day. I do not have figures for non-federal. Offshore drilling is where companies are spending exploration and developement money.

    2. Delays in new oil and gas development caused by government and opposition interference, even after leases have been paid for. I did watch an energy conference with Senator Reid, Gore and others in which Reid talked about over riding all local jurisdiction for a new electricity grid.

    3. Inefficient use of energy – lighting, vehicles, buildings

    Solution:
    1. Reduce energy consumption with more efficient vehicles, lighting and building insulation. Yet how many millions of mecury filled CFL have gone into public landfills?
    2. Reduce government invovlement. Federal government, which is central control, is wasteful and inefficient by it's very nature. Does anyone really believe the Federal government can be efficient and not waste money? 15 years and $15 billion dollars to build a nuclear waste storage in Nevada has now been shut down. The government is pushing the Chevy Volt but I ask that you read the specs. How will national car mpg go from the present of 27mpg to 35.5 by the 2016 models in about 5 1/2 years from now?
    3. More energy development traditional (gas, oil, nuclear) and newer (wind, solar etc.) When looking at wind though, pay attention to what the annual wind efficiency of the turbine location and not just the wattage of the wind turbine. Texas produces more wind generated that any other state but the wind efficiency rating if 35%. Read up on the years of delay for the Cape Wind project (off Cape Cod)

  49. Meme
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Bet all those chanting "Drill, drill, drill" are looking at the Gulf right now and saying, "DOH!". If you aren't, well, there's no help for some folks…
    They had no plan in place for dealing with this eventuality and their best plan to fix it is a "tophat", which will work better than the "dome" that didn't work.

    And you think ANWR would be safe.

    Fools…

3 Trackbacks

  • By One Alaskan's View on Sarah Palin. | Dietrich Duke on October 16, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    [...] Sarah Palin also supports the drilling of the protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This is a project that will cost over a billion American dollars to reduce the cost of oil by roughly fifty cents a barrel. This is assuming, of course, that there are resources to be found. According to Anwr.org, two hundred million barrels of fuel can be taken from ANWAR and production "could last for 25 years, maybe longer". Could? Not to mention, the U.S. Department of Energy says that we wouldn't see the full potential of this oil until 2026. Too little too late, and not enough to… [...]

  • By One Alaskan’s View on Sarah Palin « Indigo One on October 20, 2008 at 2:29 am

    [...] Sarah Palin also supports the drilling of the protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This is a project that will cost over a billion American dollars to reduce the cost of oil by roughly fifty cents a barrel. This is assuming, of course, that there are resources to be found. According to Anwr.org, two hundred million barrels of fuel can be taken from ANWAR and production “could last for 25 years, maybe longer”. Could? Not to mention, the U.S. Department of Energy says that we wouldn’t see the full potential of this oil until 2026. Too little too late, and not enough to hel… [...]

  • By Waste Free Living on November 26, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    [...] See the top ten reasons why ANWR is a bad idea here: the Climate 411 [...]

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