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ANWR’s 2,000 acre lie
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is an obviously controversial subject pitting all sorts of special interest groups and citizen's groups against one another.

For decades environmental groups pretty much had their way in preventing such drilling. But since the Republicans have taken the majority in Congress as well as the White House, they've promised to drill in ANWR and help lessen our dependence on foreign oil.

Whether, in fact, ANWR will make any significant difference in that regard is, at this point, highly debatable. Those that argue against drilling make the following case as epitomized by Sen. Maria Cantrell's piece in USA Today:
Drilling advocates argue that we ignore the need for an immediate boost to domestic oil supply. But their arguments ignore the facts: Opening the refuge would do little to meet our energy needs and nothing to reduce prices.

Not one drop would come from the refuge for 10 years. At its peak, drilling would cut our reliance on imports by only 4 percentage points and the price of gas by just one penny.

Others claim it can't hurt. They're wrong: It would hurt badly. Oil companies drilling on the neighboring North Slope have caused, on average, 504 spills annually since 1996. They have released almost 2 million gallons of toxic substances, most commonly diesel, crude and hydraulic oil. Just one spill can significantly damage this fragile ecosystem.
Not one drop for 10 years. Of course, had we drilled 10 years ago, then this argument would be moot wouldn't it? And if we delay another year or two, it'll be 11 or 12 years won't it? The fact that those opposed to drilling in ANWR have succssfully delayed drilling and exploitation of the oil reserves for years isn't a good argument for not drilling.

And of course, the other side of the argument says the following:
Discovery of the gigantic Prudhoe Bay oilfield was announced in July 1968, the largest deposit ever found in North America. (Environmentalists called it a "few months' supply.") Nine years, 7.7 billion dollars, and 1,347 government permits later, Americans cheered as oil began flowing through the 800-mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.

Since July 1977, the pipeline has carried more than 13 billion barrels of oil from Alaska's North Slope. During that time Alaska oil has supplied 20% of domestic production, amounting to nearly a $300 billion offset to the national trade deficit. Natural gas, produced with the oil, continues to be reinjected pending studies to determine feasibility of a pipeline to U.S. markets. Prudhoe Bay gas reserves are 30.9 trillion cubic feet.
The fact is we don't know how much is really there. Additionally, if you look at that map I linked above, you'll note that ANWR isn't that far from the pipeline.

The last argument above really isn't a very good argument against drilling either. It's a comparison of apples and oranges. The constraints on the North Slope oil companies aren't nearly as stringent as those which would be placed on the drilling in ANWR.
"The requirements in the legislation would be very strict," [Sec. Interior Gale] Norton said in an interview Tuesday, calling the environmental standards for the refuge "more stringent than is applied in other oil and gas producing areas." She said the bill requires her to ensure leasing plans are "environmentally sound" with "no significant adverse impact" to wildlife or their habitat.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said the bill "lets us address the environmental issues" and provides safeguards by requiring advanced technology. "We're not talking about opening the entire 1.5 million acres. ... We're asking for permission to explore and drill in an area not to exceed 2,000 acres," Murkowski said on the Senate floor.
Obviously, given the track record of government to deliver on its high sounding promises is another thing altogether, but the point is the bill already addresses Sen. Cantetrell's objection (something one would assume she knew before she wrote her op/ed).

Additionally "ANWR" is a general acronym referring to an area the approximate size of South Carolina which already has areas have been developed along the ANWR coast.

So is there a good argument against drilling. Well, maybe. But it has more to do with misrepresenting the impact in ANWR than anything.

We have repeatedly been told that the size of the ANWR area which will be impacted by opening ANWR is 2,000 acres or about 3 square miles in a wilderness of the 1.5 million acres in the ANWR coastal plain. And we've been led to believe that the entire operation for extracting the oil up there will be contained in that 2,000 acre area as illustrated in this pro-ANWR piece:
New oil development technology will allow companies to tap underground producing reservoirs with a much smaller "footprint" on the surface. Development in ANWR will impact only 2,000 acres of the 19.6 million acre Refuge.
But will it?

Interestingly Cantwell doesn't make what seems to me to be the most critical argument of all concerning ANWR, that is the "real" size of the footprint. But she has previously spoken out about it:
But environmentalists called the 2,000-acre limit "a sham" that does not reflect the fact that the bill would allow drilling activities in all but 45,000 acres of the coastal plain, crating a "spiderweb" of development.

The legislation would require Norton to offer oil leases covering at least 200,000 acres within 22 months and a second lease package in 2010. The 2,000-acre footprint limit applies, according to the bill, only to support facilities, airstrips, areas covered by gravel berms and the pipeline support piers where they actually touch the ground. Environmentalists note that actual pipelines, which are off the ground, are not considered part of the footprint, thought they argued the pipes would have an impact on the wild nature of the region.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., a leading opponents of ANWR's development, called the legislation "a back door that circumvents" existing environmental laws. "It creates ill defined environmental standards ... and cuts off the secretary's ability to protect environmentally sensitive areas," said Cantwell, alluding to the 45,000-acre limit on special protection areas.
Let me reinterate the claims here:
  • Claim 1, the 2,000 acres that is always tossed about only pertains to "support facilities, airstrips, areas covered by gravel berms and the pipeline support piers where they actually touch the ground."
  • Claim 2, all but 45,000 acres of the 1.5 million ANWR coastal plain would be open to development by oil companies through oil leases.
  • Claim 3, oil leases will be offered on 200,000 acres within 22 months of the legislation being passed.
I'm sorry but that is not the propaganda we've been handed at all, although if you poke around enough you find that in fact they are talking about exploring that entire 1.5 million acre coastal plain minus the 45,000 acres which are set aside. Look at the bottom of this particular pro-ANWR piece where they talk about how ANWR is bigger than 10 states in the US. Note that about 2/3rds of the way down it says "Area proposed for exploration" and lists the size as "1.5 million acres".

Is that what you remember as the proposal for the impact, in terms of acerage, that has been thrown around by the proponenets of drilling?

How many times have you heard the likes of Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh talk about it only being 2,000 acres? Or the Heritage Foundation?
The debate over drilling in Section 1002 of ANWR is not about destroying one of America's national treasures. The magnificent mountains, beautiful lakes, and precious wildlife will not be disturbed. Nor is it about enriching oil companies. Irresponsible federal policies and indifference by policymakers to the growing domestic shortages of oil, not the actions of oil companies, have made the United States more than 50 percent dependent on foreign oil sources and subject to price volatility. At issue is whether to use merely 2,000 acres out of a total of 19 million acres in ANWR to ensure the nation's energy security.
In fact the propaganda continued even today when Sen.Ted Stevens said the following:
In debate before the cloture vote, Stevens told fellow senators, "We know this Arctic. You don't know the Arctic at all." At issue, he said, was "2,000 acres of the Arctic," the amount of land in the refuge that would be opened for drilling. "Is that worth this fight?"
Below that, buried in the same story, is this:
The provision would allow oil companies to drill in a coastal plain that covers about 1.5 million acres of the wildlife refuge, which encompasses a total of about 19 million acres in northeastern Alaska.
Look, full disclosure here. I think we ought to drill for oil and I think we probably ought to do it in Alaska, but I resent the hell out of being told that the impact will only be 2,000 acres and then find out there will be oil rigs over 1.5 million acres.

That, my friends, WILL have an impact far greater than what we were led to believe. Whether that impact is, in reality, harmless or not, the fact is this has all been presented in a less than honest fashion.
While proponents of drilling insist the Arctic Refuge could be developed by disturbing as little as 2,000 acres within the 1.5-million-acre coastal plain, a recent analysis by NRDC reveals this to be pure myth. Why? Because U.S. Geological Survey studies have found that oil in the refuge isn't concentrated in a single, large reservoir. Rather, it's spread across the coastal plain in more than 30 small deposits, which would require vast networks of roads and pipelines that would fragment the habitat, disturbing and displacing wildlife.
What will that mean? Well look at this graphic representation and then tell me it's only 2,000 acres being impacted.

Why is it more of a concern when you regard the size involved at 1.5 million acres v. 2,000? Because of what is necessary to actually drill for and pump oil. Vast amounts of water and gravel for instance, which, in the case of water, is a scarce resource in that area.
They argue that whether environmental impacts would be minimized would depend in part on the wording of legislation, and that there still would be the need for gravel and the scarce water resources of the 1002 area; and permanent roads, port facilities, and airstrips would follow the initial roadless construction. They also note that spills may occur.
Obviously taking scarce water out of and gravel into a 2,000 acre area will have much less impact than doing the same in a 1.5 million acre area, won't it? And, if intellectual honesty compels you to fess up, that will indeed have an impact on the flora and fauna of the area won't it?

So, did you know that?

Maybe it's my fault that I didn't know that the "2,000 acre" figure was absolute nonsense in terms of "impact" environmentally. I've only paid peripheral attention to this mainly because I figured it would remain blocked for the foreseeable future. But I resent being fed a line of crap as it pertains to ANWR and the impact drilling is going to have.

Yes oil independence is important. Yes, we should explore ways to extract oil from ANWR. But an emphatic no to such a project's justification being built on a pack a lies about impacting only 2,000 acres of wilderness.

Now that you know the area it will actually entail, read about the real possible impact here.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
So I guess you didn’t get the point that I’m all for drilling for oil but I don’t like to be lied to in the justification.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Oh, and one other point: free markets and free people both require accurate information. That’s what allows them to make the proper market decisions based on what is of value to them.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Also, Book, more than mere hard dollar costs matter when examing costs vs. benefits. Some costs are never monetary and some costs take a long time to have an impact.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
drill it damm it
 
Written By: ray
URL: http://
A) It’s not all about you.

and

B) Those who value a pristine ANWR and love hugging caribou may be all right with 2,000 acres (as reported) but not with 1.5 million. Until now they’ve not had the proper information to make an informed decision as to whether they value the extraction of oil over that 1.5 million acres more than hiking and caribou, have they?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I have a better idea, that fits in with my libertarian principles quite nicely. Why not sell off ANWR - all 19 million acres of it - to anyone who wants it. If the environmentalists feel strongly enough about it, they can outbid the oil companies. I wouldn’t even be opposed to putting an environmental premium on the land, letting anyone who would sign a contract not to damage the wilderness have, say, a 20% advantage off the top, to cover externalities. The money raised from selling the land could be used to offset deficits or to provide other services, and a significant amount of territory would be returned to private and productive use.
 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
We’ve been hearing the same song and dance by the left over ANWR for over a decade, now. THe Earth firsters complain it hurts the wildlife, when in fact other Alaskan operations, the wildlife’s going great guns; they’re actually ATTRACTED to the drill and pumping sites.

Tell ya what; You remember the small crowd of people at Crawford over the summer?
I’d like to see the loons haul their asses up to ANWR in the winter and camp out on the site to protest the drilling operations there. Oughta be intersting to see how long they last.

And McQ; I don’t know,(I have no way of knowing at the moment) but I’ll suggest that you may be talking about two seperate proposals. Old Propaganda, new bill, or the reverse? I mean over a 10 year period, and as many times as we’ve tried getting this by the obstructionists, some of the particulars have likely changed. I can’t imagine they’ve been doing the same boundires each time.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Works for me Jeff ... but that’s not the point of my article.

I just don’t like lying, be it for something I support or something I’m against.

Old Propaganda, new bill, or the reverse?

The Ted Stevens quote is from today.

Today.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Now that I’ve been given the proper information, I get it:

It requires 2000 acres of impacted area...
... in order to drill out a 1.5 million acre field...
... under a 19.5 million acre wilderness.

2000 acres of oil rigs and pumps and crap to retrieve the oil assets of 1500000 acres.

I suppose they can do this, now, because they can drill directionally and whatnot. It’s really quite remarkable.

The other 1.5 million acres will be pristine save a few roads, a few pipes, and perhaps the occasional spillage.

The remaining 18 million acres will remain 100% pristine.

Drill it.
 
Written By: Undertoad
URL: http://cellar.org/iotd.php
2000 acres of oil rigs and pumps and crap to retrieve the oil assets of 1500000 acres.

Uh no.

It will take 1.5 million acres of oil rigs, roads, pipelines and pumps to retrieve the oil in 30 different spots in that acreage. The 2,000 acres will contain "support facilities, airstrips, areas covered by gravel berms and the pipeline support piers where they actually touch the ground."

Did you read this at all?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
The graphic representation you provide loses some of its...objective value with its title: Arctic Land Grab. Yeah, they’re going to approach that from a balanced perspective. Even their oil rig icons were sized so as to appear to leave no open spaces.

Ever been to West Texas? Oil rigs take amazingly small amount of space. You can have several oil rigs within 1 acre. And there is the curious connection between the "2000 acres" number and "2000 rigs" number. It almost seems like it might match up exactly.

My bottom line: everyone’s got an axe to grind in this issue, making it hard to really judge who is credible. What does the actuall bill say? Not "what do the enviromentalists say the bill says (as you have quoted), but what does the actual bill say? One of the bait-and-switches seems to be whether the oil lease acres are surface or subsurface areas. It is entirely possible to have 2000 acres of surface occupation drawing oil from underneath a 1.5 million acre area.

On the other hand, your point about water use affecting water tables is well-made.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
There are no roads up there. They use ice roads in the winter to transport materials in and out. They melt in the spring.

I suggest you visit Alaska some time. You can drive to Prudhoe Bay from Fairbanks (it’s about 8-10 hours north by gravel highway). Then you can tour the region by helicopter as the majority of drilling operations are NOT road accessible (it’s arctic swamp). If you go in the winter bring a good coat.

You could also enroll in UAF’s mineral engineering program. Why be informed when you can rant tho...right?

Consider also that oil itself comes from organics. There are virtually no organics that far north currently...so how did the oil get there? Perhaps at one point it was quite warm there and plant life flourished? Something to think about.
 
Written By: Tycho
URL: http://www.themacaddress.com
I’m pretty indifferent to drilling in ANWR either way at this point. My primary objection at this point in time is that Republicans would sneak ANWR drilling into a Defense appropriations bill, and then chastize Democrats for being against our troops and national security by refusing to vote for it. This is just another example of the dishonest politics that McQ is objecting to.
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
Why not sell off ANWR - all 19 million acres of it - to anyone who wants it.

Yeah,
And while were at it.

Let’s sell off NYC’s Central Park. I’m sure that the New York penthouse prodigals would cough up big beans so that they can keep “those” people out.

And I’m sure that Yellowstone would bring serious scratch if put up on the auction block. Imagine the possibilities for economic development. I can see it now, “Six Flags Over Old Faithful”.
;)

***

I’d like to see the loons haul their asses up to ANWR in the winter and camp out on the site to protest the drilling operations there. Oughta be intersting to see how long they last.


Yea Bithead, that’s tough. I used to live in Alaska (although nowhere near the north slope, but I do have some idea), and now I live in SE Texas.
So,
Standing by the road in Crawford, TX in August, or huddling in a pup tent in Alaska; yeah, that’s a toss up.

***

You can have several oil rigs within 1 acre.

That is a typo, right Nathan?
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Regardless of whether the damage is limited or not, opening ANWR means opening my property - my property as a taxpayer - to private interests. It is the Alaska NATIONAL Wildlife Refuge. Yes, oil is for the public interest, but the bottom line is not.
 
Written By: tgg
URL: http://
The oil from that region isn’t going to be sold on the American market at all actually, it is slated for Chinese and Indo-European markets where profit margins are the largest and demand is growing exponentially. So, I think one of the concerns is that Congress is saying one thing but the oil companies are planning another. The fact is that Congress will push a bill in the direction the money is coming from. If the environmentalists had the money to throw around, you wouldn’t be able to build another house, factory or school in this country. They don’t, and so those who do receive preferential treatment. In this case, we have an Executive branch leadership derived from the oil business. Condeleeza has an oil tanker named after her:
http://multinationalmonitor.org/mm2001/01june/june01names.html

Vice President Cheney was head of Halliburton, the worlds largest oil field services company, and President Bush was on the board of Harken Energy. It’s no surprise to me that the adminstration is aching to open ANWR to their industry. It’s good business and you don’t stay president forever. But again, this oil is not going to ease our dependence on oil, but overseas, where the market dictates. Why would we want to open up ANWR only to watch the Chinese and Indian industries post another year of double-digit gains in GDP at our expense?
 
Written By: juster3d
URL: http://www.usaunited.org
I’ve come to believe, you can spin just about anything. One thing that can’t be spun is; each day there is less oil and Americans drive pick up trucks. I. e., oil is not a renewable resource and we’re being just a bit piggish about it.

At this point, Americans should not have another psychological reason to be wasteful, which is what ANWR will do. And, it’s about a one year supply, woo, woo.

Americans need to be reigned in, as happened in the 70’s. At that time most of us drove gas hogs. Overnight, we got the message and even the PU drivers were switching to diesel Rabbits and slowing to 55. But, egos trumped common sense, and here we are again. Those who don’t learn from history, keep screwing themselves.

So, when we are all driving Toyotos because Detroit never learned how to build a small car, then ANWR should be considered.

P.S. I’m a 40 year Alaska resident and worked in Prudhoe, which isn’t near as cold as Sagwon.
 
Written By: R S
URL: http://
CORRECTION
It’s good business and you don’t stay president forever. But again, this oil is not going to ease our dependence on foreign oil, but will be sold overseas, where the market dictates.
 
Written By: juster3d
URL: http://www.usaunited.org
CORRECTION
It’s good business and you don’t stay president forever. But again, this oil is not going to ease our dependence on foreign oil, but will be sold overseas, where the market dictates.
 
Written By: juster3d
URL: http://www.usaunited.org
Not to change the subject too much, but I’ve worked for oil companies off and on over the past 25 years. They are NOW some of the MOST environmentally conscience organiazations around. Why? Because if they are not, they have no hope of continued development in many places around the world, not just the US. And they need the good public image. Also in the end it is FAR more economical for them to operate environmentally clean... it’s more efficent and safer for their people too.

Secondly, oil is a fading fuel. Natural gas (ie LNG)is the coming holy grail, and it takes a lot less surface development to recover gas. That being said, we will still NEED oil for some time to come.

Third. If the "real" goal is to become more energy independent, then WHY the heck aren’t we putting some of the mightly federal budget into getting the ENTIRE NORTH EAST off of heating oil and out of the 19th century? Build a few new nuclear plants and heat them with electricity! (that will have the added benefit of tweeking the environmentalists... what a paradox... stop using oil - but excite a few atoms. What a bunch of morons!)
Seriously though, we could migrate to ethenol blended gasoline, nationwide, VERY quickly, and convert to vegetable oil as a diesel alternative.

I’m just so sick and tired of hearing all the whining about some far off place no city slicker DC lobbyist will ever go spend any time in, but every inner city in this country is a cesspool... beginning with DC! One probably gets into better DC and Hollywood parties wanting to save the plants and animals than being a poverty pimp.

Let Alaska’s do what they want with their own wilderness. Drill or not drill, leave it to them.
 
Written By: Wayne
URL: http://
Why be informed when you can rant tho...right?

Who’s ranting?

The fact remains that the story told has been about minimal impact ... 2,000 acres, nothing more.

Now we see it’s in fact 1.5 million acres.

But that’s not being "informed" eh?

Did you know that was the plan?


 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
One of the bait-and-switches seems to be whether the oil lease acres are surface or subsurface areas. It is entirely possible to have 2000 acres of surface occupation drawing oil from underneath a 1.5 million acre area.

And using what to do so, Nathan?

On the other hand, your point about water use affecting water tables is well-made.

Exactly.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
BTW Tycho, did you bother to read the final cite?
A substantial amount of water is needed for oil drilling, development, and construction of ice roads. Water needed for oil development ranges from eight to 15 million gallons over a 5-month period, according to the Bureau of Land Management. If water is not available to build ice roads, gravel is generally used. Water resources are limited in the 1002 Area. In winter, only about nine million gallons of liquid water may be available in the entire 1002 Area, which is enough to freeze into and maintain only 10 miles of ice roads. Therefore, full development may likely require a network of permanent gravel pads and roads.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Standing by the road in Crawford, TX in August, or huddling in a pup tent in Alaska; yeah, that’s a toss up.
You, perhaps.
Not the inDUHviduals I saw in Texas.
The Ted Stevens quote is from today.
Yeah, I noted that a few minutes ago; I’m rather behind on my reading today. So, the other half of the question, then; did they simply re-sumbit the same bill? Anyone know?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Please e-mail your Federal Senator and Representative the following, as soon as possible:

When the vote to give Alaska to Exxon-Mobil Corporation comes up AGAIN, next year, I will tell everyone I know how you voted. Please make me proud.
 
Written By: Breezy
URL: http://www.www.www
I too lived in Alaska-27 years-and I am pro-drilling. As to McQ’s reaction to being misled: How do you feel about the scenery of Prince William Sound being shown while talking about ANWR. ANWR is an ugly, ugly area of tundra and mosquitos. I went to Alaska in 1977 in the Air Force. At that time all I heard was Mo Udall warning how the earth moving equipment was poised at the Alaska/Canada border waiting to defile the pristine beauty of Alaska.
The Exxon Valdez accident occurred in April 1989. In 2003 my sister and her boyfriend visited from Wisconsin. I took them to Valdez to do a little fishing. 2003 was the first year that the Alaska Dept of Fish and Game (ADFG) allowed commercial fisherman to strip the roe (eggs) from the fish and discard the carcasses. That was because the huge return of pink salmon overwhelmed the faciltities abilities to process them. Here is the latest from ADFG for 2005. The normal limit is 6 fish per day. The following day we went to the exact spot that the Exxon Valdez ran aground and limited out on Silver salmon in three hours. I gave them my fish and the charter captain gave them his and they went home with 21 Silvers after 3 hours.
So I am less than enthusiastic about the claims of impending ecological disaster be it Mo Udall or Maria Cantwell. But yeah McQ I do understand how you feel about being misled. That’s the same feeling I had when I read Radley Balko’s post on Corey Maye. Cops busted in without a warrant. Oooops, appears they did have a warrant. Railroaded by a white jury. Oooops, guess there were 2 black jurors.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Geezus McQ, did you honestly believe that 2000 acres of oil field could produce 10 billion gallons of oil?

The rigs and pumps are on the 2000 acres, to drill out the 1.5M acre field. It’s all there in your links - even the biased ones.

So easy to understand, a caveman could blog it.
 
Written By: Undertoad
URL: http://cellar.org/iotd.php
The question is not should we drill in ANWR. We will someday. Is today the time to start?

The higher oil prices are, the more likely we will be able to get oil companies to drill in an environmentally friendly manner. Are oil prices high enough now for that?
 
Written By: mikeca
URL: http://mikeswinecellar.blogspot.com/
tom scott:
For an alaskan that claims to have lived in Alaska for 27 years, you have little understanding of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and its impact.
The Salmon harvest was probably the LEAST impacted of any commercial fishery harvest. Herring was the most impacted and that stock has yet to recover after 16 years. Other animals, particularly marine mammals were also heavly impacted.
In addition your story seems to have little relation to the topic at hand. The situation in Prince William Sound was very different from that in ANWR, one is a marine environment and one is a tundra environment. In practice the two respond to oil spills very differently
 
Written By: alaskan
URL: http://
just to clarify, condi rice doesn’t have a tanker named after her anymore.

after sept 11, she decided it might be a target for terrorism and so they changed the name.
 
Written By: Kevin
URL: http://rooftopvoice.blogspot.com/
As an alaskan, I think it is about time we stopped shipping oil to the "lower 48". Then maybe the idiots who drive their car to protests about drilling ANWR would understand the importance of Alaska oil. They tried to stop Prudoe Bay as well. Where would we be today if they had succeded?
 
Written By: dan
URL: http://
Re: Policymakers call for reducing reliance on foreign oil.

There is no such thing as "foreign" oil, particularly when its recover, processing and distribution takes place in the global oil marketplace. As Exxon CEO Lee Raymond has repeatedly said, the price of oil and finished oil products is set largely by the global marketplace.

With that understanding, even if we recovered EVERY drop of oil under the U.S., including the national monuments, OCS, and ANWR, the impact on global oil supply and the resulting calculation on price would be minimal - 2-3%. ANWR would change global crude supply by two-tenths of a percentage point, increasing "US" market share from 1.8 to 2.0 percent. It should also be noted that OPEC and other oil-exporting nations can easily lower their production quotas to compensate for any increase in U.S. production. Moreover, it is common to find oil produced in Alaska being shipped to consumers in China and Russia, rather than to Iowa or even California.

True reduction in the reliance on "foreign" oil would mean a reduction in the reliance on oil period. Natural gas, although it doesn’t have the same geopolitical considerations, is in the same boat.

The most comprehensive study of oil and natural gas prospects to date, a mammoth 1999 USGS study, is self-admittedly highly speculative; they say there is a coin flip’s chance that there are 7.6 billion barrels of oil under federal ANWR lands. The 95 percent confidence level is that there are 4.25 billion barrels. And these amounts are referring to total reserve amounts, NOT what is technically or feasibily recoverable by oil companies. Those amounts, which are the amounts that are released into the global oil market, are highly dependent on the global price of oil (when the price is high, it provides economic sense for oil companies to spend more capital in digging deeper and wider to recover more oil) and other variables such as extraction technology and environmental regulation compliance. Using the average oil price over the past several decades, of about $25-30/barrel, the 1999 USGS study estimated that there was only a 50 percent chance that 2.4 billion barrels would be economically recoverable by oil companies. 50 percent.

Having said all that, as Raymond has stated, all of these massive studies are little more than paperweights because until you actually poke an exploratory drill into the surface, there is no way of providing even a ballpark estimate as to how much oil or natural gas there is. However, as is the case with ANWR and OCS, federal law/regulations do not allow such exploratory actions.

Bottom line? There is no such thing as potential national oil independence. In fact, by adding more supply to global oil reserves, we are abetting, not reducing, our nation’s growing addiction to oil. In that sense, national security would be increased by NOT drilling in ANWR and instead spending those economic resources on developing commercially viable alternative forms of fuel - perhaps switching to coal as the fuel of choice? or renewably generated hydrogen?

So, if it is not a national security issue, is it a consumer issue? Answers in this area are murky because of the high uncertainty levels (both going above the expected value as well as BELOW the EV), as well as the unknown future price at which oil becomes economically recoverable. However, we do know that no matter how large the reserve under the coastal plain, it would make an insignficant impact on gasoline and heating oil prices (as noted by the Exxon CEO.

If not a consumer issue, is it an environmental issue? While there is a high level of complexity involved in evaluating policy impacts on ecosystems, the matter is largely an ethical one that questions the relationship between human economies and that of ecosystems, if any. Clearly, our policymakers need to examine this relationship in greater depth and its impact on our future ability to sustain the quality of our lives.










 
Written By: jessie helfer
URL: http://
several oil rigs in an acre.
Well, I didn’t think that was a typo. What I’m talking about is the pump. In West Texas, they aren’t that big, and you can have several in 1 acre, easily. They just aren’t that big.

So maybe I should have asked (or maybe the article should have specified), what is a "rig"? The drilling structure? Or the pumping structure? The drilling structure is temporary, and they can drill at angles and so forth...so one drilling structure occupying 1 acre could conceivably cover more than a square mile of subsurface oilfield area. Drawing parallel lines to the surface of the outline of the underground oil field would certainly result in a much larger area than you would actually see on the surface. Is that a deliberate deception fostered by the anti-drillers? Since they are the only ones mentioning 1.5 million acres, I’m thinking it’s worth deeper investigation to see if they employed a rhetorical bait-and-switch.
Perhaps the first thing to do would be to investigate and see how much actual land area oil rigs take up in other areas.
For instance, in my oft-cited West Texas, I don’t think oil rigs cover 1.5 million acres of surface soil by any means, nor has the environment been ruined, despite millions (billions?) of barrels already having been pumped, and more all the time.

I want facts, not innuendo. I think innuendo (look for the terms "as much as" "could" "possible" "probably", etc) is probably the best description of the anti-drillers in this case.
For instance, I have as many as 18 kids right now. Wow, that sounds pretty bad, Nathan sure gets around, huh? But despite that statement being logically factual, I actually have only 2, and that is beyond doubt. But "as many as 18" does include 2, so that statement isn’t actually a lie...but it sure leaves a different impression.

So then, to the water issue. Does the environmental impact statement confirm the amount of water that will be needed? Have they developed new drilling techniques that don’t need as much water? Or is salt water pumped in from the coast just as good? Because then the water volumes don’t mean that much.
 
Written By: nathan
URL: http://chieflymusing.com/
And another thing:
The best way to make predictions is threefold:
1) What, no-shit, will happen?
2) What is the worst-case of what might happen?
3) What is the most likely result?

I don’t really see any one of those predictions made by the anti-drillers. Sure, the entire population of the United States could decide to buy Chevy Cobalts tomorrow. That doesn’t mean I should adjust my investment plan to account for it.
 
Written By: nathan
URL: http://chieflymusing.com/
nathan -

i believe drillers are just as "guilty" as anti-drillers in making statements that include phrases such as "as much as" or "possible". however, you are misguided in thinking that that is a faulty way of describing the situation. we live in a very complex world with high levels of uncertainty and it would be simply wrong to make "predictions" without giving certainty levels. as i noted in my post, the USGS is the only body to conduct a comprehensive survey of the 1002 area and their report is replete with uncertainty.

you are also short-sighted in thinking about the environmental damage caused by oil drilling. yes, oil companies taken a modicum of measures to improve their consciousness of the environment, as well as their image as environemntally-friendly organizations, but the fact is that oil, as a fossil fuel, is a pollutant. its combustion produces a variety of emissions that pollute the air and the processes that are used to refine it release effluvium into our waters. that is the chief environmental threat, not merely the possibility of accidents happening like the Valdez incident.

you ask for three things:
1) what will happen?
the U.S. and the rest of the world, including China become more addicted to oil, triggering a war between China and the US, a war we would lose once China gains economic ascendancy in about 20 years.

2) what is the worst-case?
significant climate change as a result of continuing fossil fuel emissions of carbon causes major shifts in population and relocations of geopolitical power. in fact, canada, as it becomes the agricultural center of the western hemisphere with a warmer climate and the world’s largest freshwater reserves, becomes the dominant force in the north america. Diamond’s Collapse could happen. the end of the world as we know it. ...ice age, etc.

3) what is the most likely result?
from drilling? the most likely result would be simply incentive to energy companies to stay in the oil business, no impact on finished price products, little to no impact on global supplies of oil, and undermining US geopolitical and economic security.







 
Written By: jessie
URL: http://
The oil in this area will not go away. I would just as soon my grandchildren or great grand children use it. They will need it much more than I will.
 
Written By: George
URL: http://
first of all, sorry about all the typos in the last post.

second, my answers to the three questions are meant to be a bit sarcastic. given the emails that i’ve received, apparently that didn’t come across as intended.

third, the subject of this blogpost, the 2,000 acres, came about as an option after the 2002 mid-term elections during consideration of comprehensive energy policy (energy bill). I believe it was Rep./Senator Sununu (who replaced the anti-drilling GOP incumbent Smith) who officially proposed the proposal as a "compromise". however, as has been noted, it’s not really a compromise, but a premeditated attempt to dupe the american public.



 
Written By: jessie
URL: http://
first of all, sorry about all the typos in the last post.

second, my answers to the three questions are meant to be a bit sarcastic. given the emails that i’ve received, apparently that didn’t come across as intended.

third, the subject of this blogpost, the 2,000 acres, came about as an option after the 2002 mid-term elections during consideration of comprehensive energy policy (energy bill). I believe it was Rep./Senator Sununu (who replaced the anti-drilling GOP incumbent Smith) who officially proposed the proposal as a "compromise". however, as has been noted, it’s not really a compromise, but a premeditated attempt to dupe the american public.



 
Written By: jessie
URL: http://
first of all, sorry about all the typos in the last post.

second, my answers to the three questions are meant to be a bit sarcastic. given the emails that i’ve received, apparently that didn’t come across as intended.

third, the subject of this blogpost, the 2,000 acres, came about as an option after the 2002 mid-term elections during consideration of comprehensive energy policy (energy bill). I believe it was Rep./Senator Sununu (who replaced the anti-drilling GOP incumbent Smith) who officially proposed the proposal as a "compromise". however, as has been noted, it’s not really a compromise, but a premeditated attempt to dupe the american public.



 
Written By: jessie
URL: http://
Look at prudehoe bay. It is a oil wasteland. Is this what we leave for our children? We’ve screwed up the earth enough already.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://
As a long time resident of the state of Alaska I have found that our history with oil ventures has not been one without its fair share of problems. In that this legislation should pass I think that people should realize the Alaskan government is heavily subsidized by Alaskan oil revenue right now. This would be a great new breath of life into the state of Alaska but for the price of more affordable gas? I’m not sure, but I will say if drilling is done right as we have experienced here in Alaska than we can have our oil and our environmental policies too.
 
Written By: william rhodes
URL: http://
This entire argument is amusing, in that it completely ignors the most important fact related to energy policy: PEAK OIL. It will happen, if it hasn’t already. Thus, even if we drill every square inch of Alaska, we are not going to solve the real problem: how are we going to drive our cars when there is no gas, anywhere. In light of this, the real question we need to ask ourselves is: do we really want to invest resources to extract a final few gallons of oil from Alsaka or should we use those resources to develop alternative-energy technology and infrastructure that will be necessary once the oil is gone?
 
Written By: Betts
URL: http://
Jessie Helfer and Betts:

When you talk about "using those resources to develop alternative-energy technology and infrastructure", I don’t think you get it. "Those resources" constitute millions acres of tundra. How do you propose to use that for "developing commercially viable alternative forms of fuel?" If by "those resources" you mean govt. funds, the govt will actually make money on the lease to the oil companies. Maybe they can use THOSE FUNDS for research. Anyhow, think it through before you regurgitate your Thomas Friedman talking points.

BTW/ McQ, I get the point of your post and agree with you. The epistemological void on this issue can be further seen in the comments, where everybody rants in fanatic fashion and nobody has gone to the trouble of finding out what the actual footprint would be like for exploration and drilling in the 1.5 million acres in question. This may be because there is no reliable info, i dunno, but to listen to either side it’s a slam-dunk for or against.
 
Written By: Ron C
URL: http://
Jessie Helfer and Betts:

When you talk about "using those resources to develop alternative-energy technology and infrastructure", I don’t think you get it. "Those resources" constitute millions acres of tundra. How do you propose to use that for "developing commercially viable alternative forms of fuel?" If by "those resources" you mean govt. funds, the govt will actually make money on the lease to the oil companies. Maybe they can use THOSE FUNDS for research. Anyhow, think it through before you regurgitate your Thomas Friedman talking points.

BTW/ McQ, I get the point of your post and agree with you. The epistemological void on this issue can be further seen in the comments, where everybody rants in fanatic fashion and nobody has gone to the trouble of finding out what the actual footprint would be like for exploration and drilling in the 1.5 million acres in question. This may be because there is no reliable info, i dunno, but to listen to either side it’s a slam-dunk for or against.
 
Written By: Ron C
URL: http://
Actually, I failed to notice the link in the final sentence of the post. Decent info there, but nearly all of the impact statements are couched in "may" (not even "likely") terms. The photos of "scarred" landscape really do not move me. OK, so there is a 200 mile long ditch in thousands of square miles, so what?

The graphic for the 1002 area shows exactly two hauling roads. That doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to me.
 
Written By: Ron C
URL: http://
The rigs and pumps are on the 2000 acres, to drill out the 1.5M acre field. It’s all there in your links - even the biased ones.

No, they’re not.

Try again.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
How do you feel about the scenery of Prince William Sound being shown while talking about ANWR.

The same way I feel about this Tom. So how do you feel about it and why?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
RonC:

BTW/ McQ, I get the point of your post and agree with you. The epistemological void on this issue can be further seen in the comments, where everybody rants in fanatic fashion and nobody has gone to the trouble of finding out what the actual footprint would be like for exploration and drilling in the 1.5 million acres in question. This may be because there is no reliable info, i dunno, but to listen to either side it’s a slam-dunk for or against.

Bingo. Thank you, sir. But the info sure has been presented as ’reliable’ hasn’t it?

But, then you say:

The graphic for the 1002 area shows exactly two hauling roads. That doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to me.

Yet it also shows 6 gravel mines, so unless the gravel is going to be levitated to the needed areas, there are more than likely going to be more than 2 roads, wouldn’t you say?

All this to point out that it is not going to be something contained in 2,000 acres no matter how hard proponents want us to believe that to be true.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I’ll be worried about us running out of petroleum when I see:
a) significant changes in the airline industry out of fear of running out of oil
and
b) significant changes in military plans (especially aircraft procurement/use) out of fear of running out of oil.

We use lots, yes...but we keep finding more as fast we use it. Yes, that’s even considering increasing use. Which should tell you something.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
Ron-

I’m not sure what Thomas Friedman has to do with my statement. Lee Raymond is mentioned more than Friedman. And in any case, my main sources are the USGS, EIA and CRS.

As for economic resources being used, i think you are being a bit naive. for starters, the congress just passed a bill that provided signficant royalty relief for oil and gas companies that have rigs in federal areas. secondly, taxpayers would have to pay for the pipeline connecting ANWR to the lower48 or to the existing infrastructure.
third, whatever revenues that are "raised" through selling leases are given back to oil and gas companies through tax incentives; in the energy bill, oil and gas companies were given $12 Billion worth of tax credits. Included in these credits is the expensing of 50% of the costs of increasing refinery capacity and the amortization of oil and gas exploration expenditures over two years. Renewables and other alternatives received $3 billion. You could say that the amount was proportional to the relative size of the industries, but i would argue that at a time oil and gas companies are doing well now and foreseeably into the future as China maintains pressure on oil demand, there is no need to strengthen their hand. and fourthly, instead of simply accounting for simply the resources that can be drawn out from underneath the tundra, you should also account for the federal resources that will need to be spent for 1) pollution control, 2) healthcare costs and 3) climate change mitigation, for example. And while you could say that there is no way of accounting for things that are that disparate or speculative, I would argue that we should be more more certain those costs and include those in any decisions that we make - full cost accounting. Ultimately, companies can easily "game" government into taking back whatever they pay for the leases and taxpayers will be left on the hook. the line in the sand has to be drawn somewhere if we are to gain energy independence and that is not going to happen unless there is a level playing field. I only wish taxpayers realized how much they are paying for the gasoline they are putting into their tanks through subsidies being given to oil and gas companies, and this is not including the costs of stationing destroyers in the Persian Gulf and in Kuwait and Saudia Arabia to protect our oil interests. Those costs should be accounted for in the price of finished products like heating oil and gasoline, but they are not. Heck if you think about it that way, our defense of those oil shipping lanes in the Gulf is protecting oil not just for us, but for the whole world. so in that sense, US taxpayers are subsidizing the cost of oil for everyone around the world.
 
Written By: eric
URL: http://
You’re assuming we’ve reached peak.
Problem; Every time they’ve predicted an end of oil production, and hit the ’we’re running out’ alarm bells, fact comes along with new resources.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
You’re assuming that the market reflects the true cost of oil, such that when oil becomes scarce, people will respond with innovation that allows more efficient use of oil, or by creating a substitute.

problem: due to subsidies and cartel-price controls, the market does not reflect the true cost of oil, which makes the post-oil transition much more painful to make.



 
Written By: bill
URL: http://
You’re assuming that the market reflects the true cost of oil, such that when oil becomes scarce, people will respond with innovation that allows more efficient use of oil, or by creating a substitute.

problem: due to subsidies and cartel-price controls, the market does not reflect the true cost of oil, which makes the post-oil transition much more painful to make.



 
Written By: bill
URL: http://
McQ: The same way I feel about this Tom. So how do you feel about it and why?I dislike it because it’s dishonest and highly manipulative.

Alaskan said:In addition your story seems to have little relation to the topic at hand. If that’s the case I apologize for being off topic. I read that McQ was was aghast, disgusted, amazed, etc., with misrepresentations. So I added the Mo Udall, PWS scenery, Exxon Valdez, as examples that I felt were greatly exxagerated, hyperbolic, etc. As to your comment belittling my knowledge of the herring fishery I agree that you are correct about the fishery. The herring fishery has been decimated. However, to place all the blame on the Exxon Valdez is again misleading. The EVOS occurred in March of 89. The bottom fell out of the herring biomass in 93. It’s uncontested that the oil spill contributed greatly to the fall in numbers. It caused diseases like lesions on the liver, However, continued commercial fishing also contributed. When the stocks were low the pollock, which share a foraging history with the herring, moved in and this also contributed to the lack of recovery of the herring biomass.
The ADFG is reporting that the stocks of herring are on the rise and have been since 98. As for the marine mammals, I took out-of-state visitors on PWS tours out of Whittier every summer. The rafts of sea otters are at historic highs. The stellar sea lions out of Seward are also rebounding in Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park.
The herring fishery in the Ketchikan area in 2004 resumed after more than 20 years of decimated stocks. Ketchikan is nowhere near or in the flow of the Exxon Valdez and it’s decline began well before the Exxon Valdez. There are circumstances other than an oil spillage that leads to lower stocks.

 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
I dislike it because it’s dishonest and highly manipulative.

Then we agree and it really doesn’t matter which side does it, it is indeed dishonest and highly manipulative and it distorts the information we need to make an informed decision based on our values.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
You’re assuming that the market reflects the true cost of oil,
Nope.

I’m assuming that the market reflects the true cost of oil PLUS the consumer ’sin’ taxes taxes laid onto it by various government agencies, PLUS the taxes laid onto the oil companies which are passed to the consumers as a cost of doing busienss, not a tax.... PLUS the cost of NIMBY where drilling is concerned,which raises dramatically the cost of finding new domestic sources, (And I’d include ANWR in this) PLUS the cost of satifying enviro-yutzes whose polution standards cost us millions of consumed fuel daily. All these do not add up to more than a small fraction of the ’subsidies’ you complain of.
...such that when oil becomes scarce, people will respond with innovation that allows more efficient use of oil, or by creating a substitute.
Yes, I am. Tell me, do Hybrids count? Oh, wait; the overall cost per mile, even with all the added costs that’s tacked onto oil, still can’t compete with oil. Or are we ignoring technology innovation that’s not convienient to your argument?



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Bithead-

Have you read a study that compares the "subsidies" I mention to the "costs" that you mention?

1) taxes on fuel. excuse me, but who is going to pay the astronomical costs for transportation (roads, seaports, airports, train) infrastructure?

2) taxes on oil companies which are passed on to consumers. how do you know this? show me the evidence. transparency in the oil business is non-existent - if you are an insider, please share with the rest of the world as to how oil companies and their franchisees consider taxes in establishing retail prices.

3) cost of NIMBY. do you really want to compare the costs of NIMBY lobbying+finding other sources of energy to the costs of oil lobbying activities+improving technology to get more oil out of the same wells (which companies are given a 50% tax credit for)? and when you say dramatically increases the cost of finding new sources, do you have proof of that as well?

4) cost of satisfying enviro-yutzes’ pollution standards that cost us millions of consumed fuel daily. do you know what a negative externality is? until these externalities are internalized, or for that matter, properly valued, there is no way of calculating how the daily cost of forgone consumed fuel. if there is an adequate method of accounting for externalities, please share. but until then, we should pre-empt unknown negative externalities as much as politically feasible. that said, if you are an oil supporter, you’re probably better off not having such an evaluation done because the global health costs alone will likely be more than the cost of any pollution controls currently in place.

5) All these do not add up to more than a small fraction of the ’subsidies’ you complain of. I’ll take this as sarcasm. But instead of saying, "small fraction", please share with us if there’s been a comprehensive study on comparing the costs and benefits of oil fuel use.

6) I am certainly not ignoring technology innovation. However, we have to start thinking about the relative size of human economies in relation to the ecosystem at large —> this is where we may agree to disagree. You say that innovation and substitution, which has pulled us through tough situations in the past (like the transition from bronze to iron, or copper to optic fiber), will pull us through again the future. I am not so optimistic based on the fact that despite these innovations and substitutions, the relative size of human economic activity has continued to grow as a subsect of the ecosystem, on which we rely for finite, scarce resources. As such, our current economic system is ultimately untenable or unsustainble in the long-run. the question is, really, do we take actions now to ensure quality of life now as well as for our kids, or pass on the buck to our kids? given the political realities that also affect things like the publicly held debt, medicare reform, etc., we are most likely going to pass the buck on generation after generation, much like the step trend of appeasement strategy that led us to past wars.

And Hybrids don’t count. especially when considering their real mpgs. the value of hybrids isn’t in the oil savings, if there are any. the value of hybrids is in the spillover effect into other fundamental behaviors —> turning off lights when not in use, being more aware of energy efficiency in appliance purchases (like air conditioners), driving less overall, increasing telecommuting, or doing other things with a mental framework that fundamentally considers energy efficiency. While the individual impact of all of these things may seem insignificant, the overall impact will go a long way to real savings in oil and overall energy use, lowering demand, exerting downward pressure on energy prices and improving the quality of life (of which environmental aesthetic and improved health are factors). So in that sense, yes, hybrids do count. but not in the terms established by your narrow vantagepoint.

mr. bithead - i take it that you are a bit of a red through and through. however, as a psychiatrist, let me assure you that your mental map of the world is not quite as objective as you may think it is. In the end, the way we perceive the observed facts depends on the theoretical (or in your case, opaque) spectacles we wear. so it is my hope that as Planck observed, that you and your preset narrow-minded view of the world, die not only hard, but die quickly while future generations learn to be a little more in-tuned and informed about the world around them. A bit harsh, I must say, but just giving my thoughts on what needs to happen if human economies are going to become sustainable in the future.







 
Written By: bill
URL: http://
Fantastic post, objectively setting out the pros and cons of ANWR drilling. It’s caused me to reevaluate my position. Until now, I’ve had a bias toward ANWR drilling, probably in knee-jerk reaction to (1) the overpopulation of the words "pristine" and "virginal" sprinkled in most ANWR articles and (2) the inevitable polar bear pics. Without much thought, I jumped toward the "footprint no bigger than Dulles airport" argument. Now I discover that there are additional facts which change that picture. Your work is appreciated.
 
Written By: ckreiz
URL: http://
1) taxes on fuel. excuse me, but who is going to pay the astronomical costs for transportation (roads, seaports, airports, train) infrastructure?
Ah. So the fact that in many states, the fuel tax goes into the general fund doesn’t matter, eh?
2) taxes on oil companies which are passed on to consumers. how do you know this? show me the evidence. transparency in the oil business is non-existent - if you are an insider, please share with the rest of the world as to how oil companies and their franchisees consider taxes in establishing retail prices.
Simple, where else would that drain go? Any business... and I mean ANY business, raises it’s consumer prices to include taxes paid. Which makes high taxes on busiensses, a hidden tax, in reality.
3) cost of NIMBY. do you really want to compare the costs of NIMBY lobbying+finding other sources of energy to the costs of oil lobbying activities+improving technology to get more oil out of the same wells (which companies are given a 50% tax credit for)? and when you say dramatically increases the cost of finding new sources, do you have proof of that as well?
How much in the way of smarts does one need to understand that years of court fights for one set of oil wells... ANWR, let’s say, costs money? Lawyers, as I recall don’t come cheap. This ain’t rocket science.
4) cost of satisfying enviro-yutzes’ pollution standards that cost us millions of consumed fuel daily. do you know what a negative externality is? until these externalities are internalized, or for that matter, properly valued, there is no way of calculating how the daily cost of forgone consumed fuel. if there is an adequate method of accounting for externalities, please share. but until then, we should pre-empt unknown negative externalities as much as politically feasible. that said, if you are an oil supporter, you’re probably better off not having such an evaluation done because the global health costs alone will likely be more than the cost of any pollution controls currently in place
Nice bit of speculation and double feed. Nothing concrete, but a nice effort, nevertheless.
And Hybrids don’t count. especially when considering their real mpgs. the value of hybrids isn’t in the oil savings, if there are any. the value of hybrids is in the spillover effect into other fundamental behaviors —> turning off lights when not in use, being more aware of energy efficiency in appliance purchases (like air conditioners), driving less overall, increasing telecommuting, or doing other things with a mental framework that fundamentally considers energy efficiency. While the individual impact of all of these things may seem insignificant, the overall impact will go a long way to real savings in oil and overall energy use, lowering demand, exerting downward pressure on energy prices and improving the quality of life (of which environmental aesthetic and improved health are factors). So in that sense, yes, hybrids do count. but not in the terms established by your narrow vantagepoint.
And there it is. Fuel saving technology isn’t what the enviro-yutzes are about. They’re about playing the Luddites of the world. They’re interested in removing themselves as much as possible from the modern world. I submit they’d do the world the most good by shutting down their computers to save energy. Were I a real bastard, I’d suggest a method of saving air, as well, but that perhaps for another time.




 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
in this entire thread you haven’t given one substantial fact to back your statements up.

1. federal fuel taxes go in transporation highway fund. for state taxes, it obviously varies, but that’s up to the perogatives of those constituents and if they want to pay for schools by taxing fuel, then so be it. that said, i was referring to federal policies, because ANWR is a federal policy issue.

2. again - show me the money when it comes to retail oil product pricing. prove it. if you can’t, then don’t speculate because it’s just a bunch of noise.

3. "How much in the way of smarts does one need to understand that years of court fights for one set of oil wells... ANWR, let’s say, costs money? Lawyers, as I recall don’t come cheap. This ain’t rocket science." This is your comeback? Wow. I’ll say this much. I can try to explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.

4. "Nice bit of speculation and double feed. Nothing concrete, but a nice effort, nevertheless"

You have no idea what i’m talking about, do you?

5. "Fuel saving technology isn’t what the enviro-yutzes are about. They’re about playing the Luddites of the world. They’re interested in removing themselves as much as possible from the modern world."

I guess you consider me an enviro-yutz. I don’t categorize myself as anything but someone who’s trying to make sense of this world, not necessarily removing myself as much as possible from the modern world. before you start throwing around claims like that, why don’t you try to understand the perspective i’m coming from. but again, your preanalytic mindset is probably set in stone and isn’t capable or interested in learning anymore. and again, i’m reminded of why debate in this debate in this country has resorted simply to name-calling. no conversation about ideas. just i’m right no matter what, and you’re wrong...and this is a commentary on both sides of the aisle. what a country.

 
Written By: bill
URL: http://
McQ, I understand that the issue here for you is gross misrepresentation on the part of the pro-drilling advocates. Never mind all the politics getting thrown around in comments here, I have a few things to point out that are relevant to your concerns.

For one thing, you need to keep in mind the difference between exploration and development. As I understand things, the current bill is about exploration. We still don’t know for sure how much is up there, and we won’t know until we can do some exploratory drilling. The 1.5 million figure is the area open to exploration. Exploration uses ice roads and doesn’t involve pipelines. The foot print for each drilling rig is pretty small.

The 2000 acre figure is an estimate of the ground footprint for development and production - where the local ecology would be radically altered from a wetland to a concrete pad. I wouldn’t be surprised if actual development (pumps, pipes, terminals) was subject to further Congressional legislation - and you know there would be a huge amount of oversight, public and private.

At full development, there’s no telling at present how many pumping sites would be needed - the answer is pending further exploration. I think the map you showed of the network illustrates a maximum possible number. There would likely be fewer than that.

I’m also not convinced that an elevated pipeline from a single pump would have much "impact" (What do they mean when they use that word?). I mean, it’s elevated so it’s not blocking any flora, fauna, drainage, etc. And the roads would be built of ice and temporary/seasonal.

About a year ago, I finally downloaded Keyhole, now Google Earth. One of the first things I did was "pay a visit" to ANWR. I also did a bit of research on the plans and technology (which I’ve just related to you). I came away convinced that the the coastal plain would remain pristine. I plan to put together a little mock-up of you "Land Grab" in GE using overlays and polys when I get home from my in-laws this week. Download Google Earth (free) if you haven’t already. I’ll send you the .kmz file in a few days and you can see for yourself.

Until then, grab yourself a paper-bag and breath into it for a minute or so. :-)
 
Written By: equitus
URL: http://
Using the Natural Resources Defense Council(NRDC) as a source? Not the most credible organization in my book. And a politician? Got any others?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
timactual-

just curious - what organizations do you find credible?

i agree that NRDC and most politicians are not credible in the sense that they do not present the whole picture. but that’s not their job. obviously, orgs like NRDC or NRA or Heritage Foundation, or Exxon develop one-sided perspectives for advocacy purposes. unfortunately, most politicians are either too busy fundraising/lazy/ignorant/being beholden to be anything other than a salesperson/mouthpiece for these advocates.

the couple of sources I do find credible are Brookings and CRS (congressional research service). And there are several organizations now that try to verify the "truth" in political debates or advertisements; factcheck.org being one of them. i also find credible sources that have no vested interest in the matter...but in today’s complex and interrelated world, that’s hard to find.

 
Written By: bill
URL: http://
equitus-

do you not think it is a bit hypocritical to dismiss the previous posts as "politics" and yours as non-political when clearly you have an agenda in favor of drilling?

for starters, you say that, "As I understand things, the current bill is about exploration."

well you understand things wrong. the Stevens provision in the Defense Authorization bill states (verbatim):

"to establish and implement, in accordance with this division, a competitive oil and gas leasing program that will result in an environmentally sound program for the exploration, development, and production of the oil and gas resources of the Coastal Plain"

And your second argument was: "The 2000 acre figure is an estimate of the ground footprint for development and production - where the local ecology would be radically altered from a wetland to a concrete pad. I wouldn’t be surprised if actual development (pumps, pipes, terminals) was subject to further Congressional legislation - and you know there would be a huge amount of oversight, public and private."

Well, be surprised. Here is the actual 2,000 acre language copied from the bill:

"ensure that the maximum surface acreage covered in connection with the leasing program by production and support facilities, including airstrips and any areas covered by gravel berms or piers for support of pipelines, does not exceed 2,000 acres on the Coastal Plain."

And how did visiting ANWR through GoogleEarth inform your decisionmaking process? Are you joking that visiting ANWR through GoogleEarth was an essential part of your "research" (the only worth mentioning) that convinved you that ANWR would remain pristine after exploration or drilling? You can’t see butkus through google Earth, and how on earth did you come to the conclusion after looking at distant satellite photos that the area would remain pristine?

Equitus - I beg of you - before pretending to sound like an authority on ANWR policy, do at least a MODICUM of homework.

 
Written By: bill
URL: http://

 
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