Letter to the Editor
ANWR drilling's impact is greater than being said
Tuesday, May 14, 2002
To the editor:
Bush administration officials and political commentators advocating oil-industry profits and energy inefficiency are circulating lies to support drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
They claim only 2,000 of the 9 millions acres of the refuge would be affected. But this does not include oil pipelines, roads, gravel pits, seismic trails, exploration wells and reservoirs. This footprint only includes points where oil structures touch the ground. The area impacted by drilling would be far greater than this. The proposal promoted by the administration and many in Congress would expose 1.5 million acres (over 15 percent of ANWR) to oil drilling. Maximally, it would exempt but 3 percent of this area from the destruction of drilling.
Meanwhile, contrary to claims of a vast oil benefit, in terms of economically recoverable supply, the American Geological Institute estimated a 3.2 billion barrel reserve assuming $20 a barrel, but zero if crude oil were $15 a barrel. If extracted now, at current U.S. demand the former estimate would eliminate oil imports for fewer than 12 months. At a practical extraction rate, it would barely dent the flow of imports.
Those calling for drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are looking for quick fixes rather than sustainable solutions. Since oil is a finite resource anyway, at best drilling in ANWR would postpone solving the real problem. The sensible solution to our dependence on foreign oil is not more oil. It is a lowered dependence on oil.
ALAN R.P. JOURNET