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No Drilling In ANWR Ever?
Posted by: MichaelW on Thursday, January 15, 2009

Congress wants to put the arctic region of Alaska off limits to oil production permanently. The Udall-Eisenhower Artic Wilderness Act was reintroduced in the House on January 6th. It provides for placing the "Arctic coastal plain" under the aegis of the National Wilderness Preservation System so as to prevent any drilling activities in the are whatsoever.
Inclusion of Arctic Coastal Plain- In furtherance of the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.), an area within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the State of Alaska comprising approximately 1,559,538 acres, as generally depicted on a map entitled ‘Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—1002 Area Alternative E—Wilderness Designation’ and dated October 28, 1991, is hereby designated as wilderness and, therefore, as a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The map referred to in this subsection shall be available for inspection in the offices of the Secretary of the Interior.
The Wilderness Act essentially bans all permanent human activities from areas designated as "wilderness" ans it specifically provides:
... there shall be no commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any wilderness area designated by this chapter and, except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this chapter (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.
There are some exceptions to the rule, even for mineral exploration and extraction. However, the Act banned the issuance of any new drilling rights.
Provided, That, unless hereafter specifically authorized, no patent within wilderness areas designated by this chapter shall issue after December 31, 1983, except for the valid claims existing on or before December 31, 1983.
The upshot of all this legislation is that if the Udall-Eisenhower bill eventually becomes law, the most fertile area of ANWR with respect to oil and natural gas will be entirely off limits.

Predictably, Gov. Sarah Palin was not amused [HT: Gateway Pundit]:
"I am dismayed that legislation has again been introduced in Congress to prohibit forever oil and gas development in the most promising unexplored petroleum province in North America – the coastal plain of ANWR, in Alaska.

"Let’s not forget: Only six months ago, oil was selling for nearly $150 per barrel, while Americans were paying $4 a gallon and more for gasoline. And today, there is potential for prices to rebound as OPEC asserts its market power, and as Russia is disrupting needed natural gas to Europe , for the second time in three years.


The governor made the following points:

* Oil from ANWR represents a huge, secure domestic supply that could help satisfy U.S. demand for more than 25 years.

* ANWR sits within a 20 million acre refuge (the size of South Carolina ) but thanks to advanced technology like directional drilling, the aggregated drilling footprint would be less than 2,000 acres (about one-quarter the size of Dulles Airport ). This is like laying a two-by-three-foot welcome mat on a basketball court.

* Energy development is quite compatible with the protection of our wildlife and their habitat. For example, North Slope caribou herds have grown and remained healthy throughout more than three decades of our oil development. Most of the year, our coastal plain is frozen solid and thus characterized by low biological productivity.

* ANWR development would create hundreds of thousands of good American jobs, positively affecting every state by providing a safe energy supply and generating demand for goods and services.

* Development here would reduce U.S. dependence on unstable, dangerous sources of energy such as the Middle East , and would decrease our huge trade deficit, a large percentage of which is directly attributable to oil imports.

* Incremental ANWR production would help reduce energy price volatility. Previous price disruptions demonstrate how even relatively low levels of oil production influence world prices.

* Federal revenues from ANWR – cash bids, leases, and oil taxes – would help reduce the multi-trillion dollar national debt, and we'd circulate U.S. petrodollars in our own country instead of continuing to send hundreds of billions of our dollars overseas, creating jobs and stronger economies in other countries.
Palin's points about energy independence and national security are well taken. To be sure, drilling in ANWR won't free us from dependence upon hostile, petrodollar regimes any time soon. And it's not terribly likely that we can ever rely entirely on our own resources for energy. But it certainly would do more good than harm to open these areas up for exploration and extraction. Sen. Larry Craig helps illustrate just how ridiculous the Congressional proposal is:

Indeed, it seems more and more people are getting the point that placing our nation's vast amounts of natural resources off limits only serves to hurt the American people [HT: Hot Air]:
On the eve of the Sundance Film Festival, filmmaker Robert Redford got some very bad reviews today, not from movie critics but from black ministers. They came from around the country to attack his environmental views and to stand up in favor of oil and gas drilling.

Redford’s critics chose the Broadway Theatre in downtown Salt Lake, hoping to draw a few of the cameras that would normally be covering the film festival. The ministers said they were here to speak up for the poor, but critics claim that some of the organizations involved are actually fronts for industry. …

It’s a national coalition arguing that more drilling would lower energy costs for the poor.
Gas prices may be cheap right now, but they will go back up soon enough. And with the record cold much of the country has been experiencing, heating oil and natural gas prices will become a much bigger issue. As the prices for these goods rise, expect a corresponding rise in the chorus of voices demanding that we open up areas that are now closed to drilling.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

The lunatics are running the asylum. I can understand why people would want prudent regulation of exploration for and extraction of natural resources to prevent widescale harm to the environment (hey, I like trees and birds, too). However, the idea that we must NEVER, EVER drill for oil in an Arctic wasteland when our economy depends on oil AND we just had a pretty good demonstration of how much pain we all feel when oil is expensive AND the Russians have just demonstrated to the Euros what it’s like when a hostile power controls your energy supplies is just... Well... It’s just the sort of thing I’d expect from SanFran Nan, Dingy Harry, and the rest of the morons in DC.

They say you get the government you deserve. What the HELL did we do to deserve this???
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
It’s for the children of the unborn Polar bears!
Stop the madness!
Humans must die out as a species to save the earth.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The ANWR thing has become a fetish for the Left, the equivalent of some gender ambiguous hairdresser who sits around sniffing Sharon Stone’s high heels.

It will have to be torn from their cold dead fingers. To which I say let’s get on with it.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
This should be a litmus test for anyone running for office. If you support this, then in a few years, when energy prices are even higher than they were last summer, your ass will be in a sling.
Written By: kyleN
"This should be a litmus test for anyone running for office. If you support this, then in a few years, when energy prices are even higher than they were last summer, your ass will be in a sling."

Trust me on this one, Kyle. Memories like that don’t even get formed, let alone remembered in this country anymore.

It will always be remembered if a conservative or just a Republican once had lunch with Richard Nixon, but liberals have never been anywhere or done anything with anyone at any time, and they certainly never made any political promises other than to support abortion (Holy Communion on the Left) and "gay marriage," a new right of passage, if the wind is blowing in the right direction.

We’ve already been around the mulberry bush on ANWR several times now. The line is always "but it won’t give us any more oil for ten years," first said probably twenty years ago.

If we’re going to drill in ANWR someone is going to have to make Nancy Pelosi an offer she can’t refuse.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
There is a nice wedge issue for the GOP to use.

GOP needs to get some interviews with oil workers - black, white, Hispanic - that says that these are high-paying jobs that can’t be sent to China. But the Democrats don’t want to allow drilling. They claim they are looking out for hard-working Americans, but how does killing job opportunities, increasing our dependence on foreign oil, and making gas more expensive do that?

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