Open ANWR Already!

The case for drilling—and more energy production

(Page 2 of 2)

• The Alaska National Petroleum Reserve, a very large area west of Prudhoe Bay, may also have large new oil reserves. However, most of the area has not yet been leased by the Federal government's very slow plan, nor explored, nor litigated.

The amounts of natural gas are just as astounding as the quantities of oil. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated years ago that there were 150 trillion cubic feet of conventional gas, 590 trillion cubic feet of gas hydrates (an as-yet-unexploited form of methane trapped in water molecules underground). The U.S. Geological Survey estimated that to be "twice the amount of carbon to be found in all known fossil fuels on Earth." Also, there is an uncalculated amount of drillable coal-bed methane in an estimated 13.7 billion tons of indicated coal resources.

The state government of Alaska is now proposing a new pipeline to transport already discovered gas through Canada to connect with pipelines reaching the American Midwest and the east. It will cost around $30 billion, be underground, and transport quantities equal to some 6 percent to 8 percent of all current U.S. consumption.

Meanwhile, Washington has become paralyzed by dysfunctional government. France and China can build nuclear electric plants in just years; in the U.S. it takes a decade. Brazil will bring offshore oil online in 24 months, while for U.S. companies it takes 10 years. New refineries are virtually illegal to build. New electricity-generating plants using coal are now unable to obtain financing because of environment constraints.

This is destroying the value of the dollar and wrecking our balance of trade, making oil prohibitively expensive, and sending hundreds of billions of dollars to foreign lands—many of whom are no friends of America. No wonder 80 percent of Americans think their nation is on the wrong track. Washington needs to declare a national emergency program to produce energy. The reasons we don't are political, not technical. Indeed, new natural gas discoveries have knocked U.S. prices down by about 30 percent.

Jon Basil Utley is associate publisher of The American Conservative and a former foreign correspondent for Knight Ridder newspapers. He has decades of experience in the oil business, including as the owner and operator of a small oil drilling partnership.

Editor's Note: Due to editing errors, the original version of this story misidentified the location of Prudhoe Bay and misstated the average depth of oils wells in Prudhoe Bay and ANWR. Additionally, it mistakenly claimed that the federal government prohibits all offshore drilling; in fact, the government effectively prohibits offshore drilling in any new areas.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Barack Obama||

    This doesn't sound like "Change" to me. You're just being divisive.

  • ||

    Good article. You might also mention how the US WOD keeps Venezuelan oil under socialist control.

  • Naga Sadow||

    What about the caribou?

  • ||

    "The world oil shortage is political, not geological,"

    Today....tomorrow, maybe not...

    www.theoildrum.com

  • Alan Vanneman||

    Intriguing. I wouldn't call Utley dispassionate, but I can see the Democrats taking a lot of heat if oil prices stay high, and they probably will. I've read that Speaker Pelosi is letting Democrats in risky districts go off the reservation on offshore drilling.

  • ||

    Canada's Prudhoe Bay? Isn't Prudhoe Bay in Alaska?

  • ||

    Pretty good article. Being somewhat of an environmentalist myself, I still don't oppose ANWR drilling because, like the article points out, it really doesn't do any damage. There is the risk of an accident, yea, but not drilling because of that minute possibility is crazy. If environmentalists want to get up in arms about something, it should be about the general use of oil and other carbon producing energy sources in general. But right now, oil is here, and not drilling Alaska is not going to solve global warming, however much of an issue that may be.

    The one thing I wasn't sure about in the article is that he was making the claim that we would save 32 billion a year by drilling because we would be increasing US oil production by 33%. This is assuming that all that oil is sold to US citizens, no? Is it not more likely that the oil will be dispersed among the world markets, lowering the global price a bit, but not giving the US any special benefit? Wasn't there something recently on Reason about removing our dependence on foreign oil being bullshit?

  • ||

    "The world oil shortage is political, not geological," argues Jon Basil Utley, who says it's time to open Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling-and remove obstacles to other ways of expanding energy production.

    I disagree. It is a floor polish and a desert topping. Oil is getting scarcer so there is a shortage. All things being relative, of course.

    Certainly we should be drilling in ANWR and the shelves. The fundies in the environmental movement will obfuscate, dissemble, lie, protest, propndagize, commit perjury and otherwise obstruct what is a rational position of extracting oil with appropriate environmental precautions. For those of us who would like to be responsible stewards of the planet and promote economic growth (y'know alleviate suffocating poverty for billions) these people are fools travelling down the proverbial road paved with good intentions.
    _________________________________________________
    The bad news is that the Martians have landed.

    The good news is they eat Greens and piss gasoline.

    Yeah, it's an old joke. Sue me.

  • ||

    I work in Prudhoe Bay, and like RP points out, it's in Alaska. But that's not what my gripe was.

    Utley says that wells in Prudhoe are only 1000 to 2000 ft deep. I'd sure like to know which wells those are since I've never encountered them. 1000 to 2000 ft doesn't get you past the permafrost in most places, let alone to the production zone (closer to 10000 ft).

    They can start from nothing and hit the pay zone, doing all the well construction work along the way, in as little as 2 to 3 weeks. I don't think "fast drilling" is really a problem.

  • ||

    Oil is getting scarcer so there is a shortage.

    Discoverable and recoverable oil and natural gas is probably not getting any scarcer probably not getting any scarcer, as technology advances. We've just recently discovered massive reserves of natural gas right in the middle of Texas. Texas! A state that has been seismically surveyed border-to-border almost constantly for generations!

    Will recoverable oil run out someday? Sure, I guess. But saying it is running out now just flies in the face of the data. Like food shortages, oil shortages will be the fault of government action or inaction for quite some time yet.

  • ||

    Buy me a Escalade and you can drill any place you damn well please.

  • daveylee||

    First off, let me say that I don't really care if drilling is allowed in ANWR. I think the chances of any significant damage occuring as a result of oil production would be minimal at the worst.

    That being said, the decisions by the oil companies whether or not to explore and/or produce in these areas will be made with a $100/bbl baseline price in mind. Most decisions to explore and exploit possible reserves off our coasts and in U.S. waters will certainly be based off of this price. So anyone stating that gasoline prices will EVER be reduced by any additional drilling here is utterly full of CRAP! (Imagine that, McCain full of crap?) $100+/bbl oil is now and certainly will be the reality by the time any of this oil is brought out of the ground.

    And in a global oil market, the oil we produce here will only minimally reduce our dependence upon foreign oil. That is another great fallacy the "drill here, drill now" crowd is trying to convince the weak minded about.

    Let's go ahead and drill, if for no other reason than for the jobs it will provide, but let us not kid ourselves about any major benefit$ for anyone except the oil companies.

  • ||

    Open up ANWR for production.

    Just don't include tax subsidies and royalty forgiveness for those who choose to explore there. (No bill to open ANWR has been presented that didn't include both)

    It's unlikely many companies will be willing to drill there without them, but if there are any they should have at it.

  • ||

    And in a global oil market, the oil we produce here will only minimally reduce our dependence upon foreign oil. That is another great fallacy the "drill here, drill now" crowd is trying to convince the weak minded about.

    Not buying a Coke at lunch will only minimally affect your ability to pay the rent. So if your short the rent this month, spoend that dollar. It doesn't matter.
    There's trash all over the city, one more tire will only minimally affect the litter problem. Toss that sucker in the alley.

  • ||

    Let's go ahead and drill, if for no other reason than for the jobs it will provide, but let us not kid ourselves about any major benefit$ for anyone except the oil companies.

    Your position is that people will decide to spend billions of their own dollars for a product in an exchange the benefits the oil companies, not themselves. There are not billions of dollars in benefits for themselves?

    Brilliant the way you distilled that down. I'm soooo impressed with your economically astute analysis of capitalism.

  • Rhywun||

    I've read stuff from other guys with "decades of experience in the oil business" that comes to the exact opposite conclusion as this guy. Who knows whom to believe any more.

  • ||

    And in a global oil market, the oil we produce here will only minimally reduce our dependence upon foreign oil.

    Maybe. How much US-produced oil is exported? Turns out, not much, and most of it is apparently exported to be refined and re-imported. If it isn't exported (perhaps because the producers see no need to incur shipping costs when they have a local market), then it displaces foreign oil.

  • ||

    I did a search of the piece and the word "Saudi" never appears. Anybody who writes "The world oil shortage is political, not geological" and leaves out Saudi Arabia must be in their pocket or isn't paying attention.

  • ||

    Several problems with this article:

    - The drilling would not remain "concentrated" as you say, so the Dulles analogy falls flat. THat map of Prudhoe Bay drill sites here at my desks shows hundreds of them dispersed across the entire area. So, when politicians/this article talk about a tiny amount of acreage, they ignored the huge number of roads required to reach disparate drill sites. As far as I understand, the scientific community agrees that roads lead to habitat fragmentation, a major ecological detriment.

    - The 33% increase in proven reserves figure is misleading. At peak production, the EIA estimates that the Refuge could produce somewhere around 1 billion barrels a day. Current US production is slightly north of 11bbl, so that increase would come in at under 10%. Furthermore, it only amounts to slightly less than 5% of US consumption. And, since that oil gets dumped into the world market of close to 86bbl/day, the price effect would be negligible.

    You can argue for drilling in the Arctic Refuge on the ground that it increases the size of the economic pie, but it's nonsense to say Americans would benefit at the pump. The debate over the Refuge becomes purely ideological, then.

    And when you get into ideology, the (not fundamental) environmental can offer a better fight. From an economic perspective, they can just as easily say that wilderness areas like ANWR are a public good (non-rival/non-excludable and all that stuff) and must therefore receive protection from the government. You can also throw in that the positive externality associated with wilderness means that it's underconsumed by the market. And why not add that transaction costs to create a perfectly informed market price almost all individuals out of the market. Outside of The Nature Conservancy, no entity but the government exists to pool funds for land protection. Without them, true wilderness would probably not exist.

    So, when we start talking about the economic benefits of drilling in pristine territory, we have to realize all the market funkiness surrounding it. But regardless, for Americans concerned about gas prices, the debate over ANWR is irrelevant. The government can inject $36 billion into the economy with the lifting of any number of other regulations, none of which would destroy irreparable wilderness.

  • ||

    That one environmental dude,

    See my 12:54pm post.

    Have a Green day.

  • ed||

    The U.S. continues to receive most of its imported oil from Canada, not Saudi Arabia. Anyone notice how, when xenophobic, race-baiting politicos talk about buying oil from "people who hate us" they never mention this fact? Does Mexico "hate" us too? They're number three.

  • Neu Mejican||

    That environmental dude saved me a bunch of typing.

    Pristine wilderness is worth more than 36 Billion dollars, imho.

    It is a very, very rare commodity in today's world. Far rarer than recoverable oil.

    RC Dean,

    We've just recently discovered massive reserves of natural gas right in the middle of Texas.

    An excellent argument against drilling in ANWR...one that has been made by none other than Nancy Pellosi, iirc.

    There are many, many, domestic drilling options left unexploited in the US that should be exhausted before we start drilling in ANWR...and by the time those are exhausted, I am betting we have better alternatives to drilling in ANWR.

  • Neu Mejican||

    JsubD,

    I see the Green-o-fascists have been keeping you up too late again.

  • Lycanthrope||

    What about the caribou?

    They will get
    What they like

    Caribouuuuuu
    Caribouuuuuuuuuuuuuu

  • meerdahl||



    "But the land is actually flat and desolate for most of the year..."



    It's probably flat year round.

  • Rakune||

    that one enviormental dude needs to double check his figures. "1 billion barrels a day" is just stupid.

  • Neu Mejican||

    An alternative view on ANWR,

    http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/97/searching_for_a_national_energy_policy.html

    ...if there were few or no alternatives to ANWR for reducing oil-import dependence, one might imagine the public's swallowing the sacrifice of energy development in this unique wilderness.

    But there are abundant alternatives. Expanded use of natural gas is more promising in the short term, expanded reliance on biomass and other renewables more promising in the middle- and long-terms. And the potential of improvements in energy efficiency dwarfs that of ANWR in the short-, middle-, and long-terms alike. Renewables and efficiency, moreover, are energy sources that address climate risks and electricity supply as well as oil dependence, and they are sources that keep on giving, in contrast to the temporary contributions of a new oil field.

  • Rakune||

    Maybe he means 1 billion barrels a YEAR? Current world oil production is abount 70 million barrels a day. The USA consumes about 20 million barrels a day.

  • ||

    JsubD,

    I see the Green-o-fascists have been keeping you up too late again.


    Nah. Just reiterating the truth for the benefit of you slower kids.

  • Neu Mejican||

    JsubD,

    Oooohhhhh....THE TRUTH.

    I didn't realize you were the guy who disseminated that...

  • ||

    By 1 billion, of course, I meant 1 million. Apologies for the other typos -- I really ought to start writing this stuff in Word first.

    To be clear:
    World consumption = around 86million barrels/day
    US consumption = 20million ish
    US production = 11.something million

  • Neu Mejican||

    FWIW,

    I do think this is largely a political problem.

    The government needs to get regulations out of the way of alternatives (see above link for details), stop subsidizing oil production, etc...

    A proposal I have heard around here that I like, in addition, is for the government, a very large energy user, to adopt carbon neutral or carbon-reducing practices itself to help drive a market for the technologies/innovations.

  • ||

    I'm not for drilling in ANWR. The oil companies failed to live up to their promises they made in regards to the Alaskan oil pipeline, namely using only double hulled ships. If they held to their promise the Valdez accident wouldn't have happened. Drill offshore all you want, but a wildlife reserve gets special protection and that should be respected.

    I could drop my resistance to ANWR drilling if oil company promises could be enforced by law, instead of just an agreement.

  • ||

    """I do think this is largely a political problem."""

    Yeah but the problem is the politics of claiming if you don't allow us X then Z will happen. It's appeal to fear.

  • ||

    The government needs to get regulations out of the way of alternatives (see above link for details), stop subsidizing oil production, etc...

    You forgot selling (preferred) or leasing the land/mineral rights it holds. Other than that, it's a pretty libertarian position. I'm not foolish enough to think that exploiting the oil reserves in ANWR and on the continental shelves will "solve" oil independence, balance of payments or the national debt. It will reduce those undesirables measurablly. To assert that responsible drilling in ANWR will decimate either the caribou or the migratory birds is chicken little nonsense that so many like to wallow in.

    Since people already live in ANWR is it still pristine? What level of development or human residency will remove it's pristine status? Is loss of pristine status irreversible?

  • ||

    We've already have one Alaskan pipeline that is susceptible to terrorist attack. A Canadian man plotted to blow up the pipeline on New Year's Day 2000. He was going to plant 14 time bombs at three points along the pipeline. Now the plan is to build another?! Thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather we invest in alternative fuels and improving oil efficiency first.

  • ||

    That one environmental dude -

    "The drilling would not remain concentrated..." - Wrong. Drilling technology has improved significantly since the 1970's. Slant drilling accesses underground volumes orders of magnitude greater than the surface footprint. As to roads - they are only used in the winter, on top of the ice and therefore have absolutely no environmental impact. They disappear when the ice melts.

    With respect to the price impact - you can't compare the increase in production against (even) the total world production to arrive at a conclusion regarding the effect on price. Production increase affects price as a function of production at the margins. Look at what's happened to prices just in the last month - a fairly moderate reduction in consumption has reduced prices significantly (just as rumors and speculation drove them up).

    "You can argue for drilling in the Arctic Refuge on the ground that it increases the size of the economic pie, but it's nonsense to say Americans would benefit at the pump." Wrong, again. It will help at the pump, it will increase the economic pie, it will reduce the number of American dollars going to people who are not out friends, it will create American jobs and increase American security. It is in no sense "purely ideological".

    "...it's (wilderness) underconsumed by the market." Truest words you've written. And it will remain "underconsumed" because the winter coastal plain of ANWR is one of the most desolate, god forsaken wastelands on the planet. It's "pristine" in the sense that the middle of the Gobi desert is pristine. All the more reason to develop it into something useful.

    In addition to the Nature Conservancy, try the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation & Ducks Unlimited. They conserve land so that we can go out and shoot and eat wildlife - another useful development of wilderness.

    "...destroy irreparable wilderness." And finally, as is usually the case when tree-huggers try and enter the debate, you equate development with destruction - just like Yellowstone, Yosemite, Rainer, the Olympic Peninsula and Denali have all been destroyed. All those nasty roads and people, you see....

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "From an economic perspective, they can just as easily say that wilderness areas like ANWR are a public good (non-rival/non-excludable and all that stuff) and must therefore receive protection from the government."

    Hah.

    From an economic perspective, you can't prove that any wilderness is worth anything at all.

  • ||

    From an economic perspective, they can just as easily say that wilderness areas like ANWR are a public good (non-rival/non-excludable and all that stuff) and must therefore receive protection from the government.

    What public benefit is ANWR producing in its current status? Nobody goes there, nobody does anything there. It might as well not exist, as far as the public goes. How will anybody's standard of living be damaged, from an economic perspective, if we allow drilling there?

  • ||

    I'd rather we invest in alternative fuels and improving oil efficiency first.

    We can (and should) do both. In fact, there are massive investments being made in improving efficiency and developing energy alternatives right now.

  • ||

    Oil is an international economy. Regardless of the amouint of domestic production, international markets control the price, unless you fix the price by government mandate. The only freedom from the oil addiction is to use alternative sources, such as Nuclear, Wind, solar etc.

    The technology exists, it merely takes the will. Govenment policies today help oil maintin its monopoly. It will take a change in government policy to create the change. the price of alternatives will go down as the scale increases.

  • me||

    How could this bitch Michele Bachmann get mentioning on the pages of Reason, huh?

    What public benefit is ANWR producing in its current status?

    It protects a lot of species. Or you see no value in wildlife?

  • LarryA||

    From an economic perspective, they can just as easily say that wilderness areas like ANWR are a public good (non-rival/non-excludable and all that stuff) and must therefore receive protection from the government.

    Absolutely. And the best way the government can protect ANWR is to develop it now, when we have time to include the environmental protections.

    Let gasoline hit $10/gal and it'll be "Screw the environment! We need oil IMMEDIATELY!"

  • JohnnRussia||

    Remember Santa Barbara, 1969?

  • ||

    Ice Pilot -

    "Drilling technology has improved significantly since the 1970's. Slant drilling accesses underground volumes orders of magnitude greater than the surface footprint." I'll give you that drilling technology has improved, but you only need to look at the Pinedale Anticline in the Green River Basin of Wyoming to see the footprint of "improved drilling." Regardless of technology, the 1002 area is huge, and it's disingenuous to imply that the rigs will be bunched up Tetris-style into area the size of Dulles. It's a question of density.

    "With respect to the price impact - you can't compare the increase in production against (even) the total world production to arrive at a conclusion regarding the effect on price." The Energy Information Administration disagrees with you. As for futures markets, the pro-drilling crowd can't have it both ways. Either speculation influences prices coming up and coming down, or it doesn't. I'm all for freedom in the futures markets because it help smooth out consumption in long run, but even I am uncertain about the effect on the spot price. Anyone care to jump in?

    "Wrong, again. It will help at the pump..." We've already gone over this, but it's worth pointing out that conservation will decrease our demand for oil by several times the amount of recoverable oil in ANWR.

    "All those nasty roads and people, you see...." Land is either developed or it isn't. When it is, it ceases to be wilderness. From a biological perspective, though, it needs to exist in large enough tracts to be of ecological value. Hence, no roads (as per legislation). It's up to you whether ecological value translates into economic value.

    And for Gilbert --

    "From an economic perspective, you can't prove that any wilderness is worth anything at all." Just ask the outdoors industry how much money it makes off backpacking, kayaking, camping and so forth. People, lots and lots of them, visit wilderness areas.

  • TheGreatMind||

    There would be a much greater immediate effect if we simply burned our own trees. Most municipalities have the means for cutting down and hauling trees and they could be used in the nation's coal plants or to produce methanol.

    This is of course equally as short-sighted and as ultimately stupid as simply tooting the drill more horn.

  • ||

    Natural gas prices decrease when domestic production increases because it is difficult to transport natural gas long distances, creating large price discrepancies in different regions of the world. In other words, natural gas is not a global commodity and prices are set regionally. Oh the other hand, oil is a global commodity; there is a single global price of oil. Therefore, increased domestic production will only lower domestic prices if it lowers international prices. However, as the US is a very small producer of oil as it stands (

  • ||

    Natural gas prices decrease when domestic production increases because it is difficult to transport natural gas long distances, creating large price discrepancies in different regions of the world. In other words, natural gas is not a global commodity and prices are set regionally. On the other hand, oil is a global commodity; there is a single global price of oil. Therefore, increased domestic production will only lower domestic prices if it lowers international prices. However, as the US is a very small producer of oil as it stands (less than 5% of global production), increasing domestic supply by a large percent as the author suggests will do little to increase international supply, which will do little to decrease international prices, which will do little to decrease domestic prices.

  • ||

    I just tried to post a comment and my computer ate it. One more attempt.

    Have any Greens actually been to the North Slope to see conditions for themselves? I have in 2004 and I have several comments. (I drove there in my truck/camper and stayed in the area for about a month).

    1. When Prudhoe Bay was being developed (early 1970's) the Greens screamed about how the caribou and musk oxen herds would be decimated because the pipeline would block migration. Actually the caibou have increased to about three times their size and other fauna have benefitted as well. During winter the caribou and other wildlife gather under the pipeline (It's raised eight feet above the tundra in order to prevent permafrost melt...a bad thing). They benefit from a small amount of radiated heat from the pipe (the oil moves at 140 deg. F) and their survival rate has clearly increased.

    2. The workers at Prudhoe are constrained to stay within the 2,000 acres boundary of the oil field. (An exception is during hunting season when limited areas and times are open). A clerk at the Prudhoe general store told of a recent incident when a worker was observed throwing rocks at a red fox which had been pestering him. He was summarily fired and put on the next plane out. The only ways in or out are via air or the two-lane, gravel Haul Road to Fairbanks.

    3. Trucks on the Haul Road are required to regularly inspect their vehicles for oil drips. If any are found they must place drip pans at all stops and repair the leak ASAP.

    4. Once Prudhoe has been depleted below economic recovery (probably several decades) the entire area must, by law, be cleaned up and returned to it's original, pristine condition. This will be true of ANWR as well. The oil companies will pay for this.

    How many Grees have actually visited the North Slope and seen what goes on there? I suspect the number is a goose egg. I recommend a trip to check it out. Besides.....it's an amazing driving adventure which any auto in good condition can do...just drive carefully.
    Head north from Fairbanks for 489 miles and you arrive at Prudhoe. There is one gas pump at Coldfoot, AK...240 miles. Prudhoe has two adequate but very basic "hotels" and a nice cafteria. The oil company will conduct you on a tour through the fields (for a fee)and you get to stop and stick your toes in the Arctic Ocean. Call ahead since they do a police check on you to be sure you won't do a terrorist thing while on the tour. It takes 24 hours for the check.

  • ||

    TOED - "It's a question of density." We agree. But what (I think) you have to explain is how 2000 acres (or ten times that footprint at 20000 acres) "destroys" (or even has a significant impact) upon a wilderness area of 19 million acres. The 20000 is only one tenth of one percent!

    We also agree that speculation makes the price go both up and down. What you can't refute is that an additional million barrels a day of ANWR production means an additional 100 million dollars a day of economic production for the U.S. and a corresponding reduction of the same to our not-friends overseas. And that's a good thing.

    I'm all for conservation and efficiency. But just as I agree that we "can't drill our way" out of this, I also don't think that we can solar, wind, conserve or improve efficiency our way out of this, either. Do it all - nuclear, solar, wind, drill, improve and conserve. Tell you what - I won't exclude your solutions if you won't exclude mine.

    Again, you imply that small amounts of development "destroy" our necessary "pristine wilderness". That is simply false. Nature "destroys pristine wilderness" all the time. Life returns. How will a few oil rigs in ANWR destroy it? If you argue that any development means it is no longer a "wilderness" and therefore, no longer of economic value, you are just knocking down the strawman that you set up. That's not a logical argument, it's sophistry.

    And I note that you failed to respond to the last 3 paragraphs of my last entry. Does that mean that you concede those points and agree with me? ;)

  • ||

    Why are both sides so averse to compromising. It's clear that we should drill our own oil--it would be foolish not to get the money out of the investment. But we don't have enough oil to meet our expanding demand. We simply don't have the capacity. Look at the basic numbers. We need massive mobilization towards alternative energy. The situation in Georgia just underscores this. To claim that we can just get by on private investment in alternatives and expanded offshore drilling is a pipe dream.

  • ||

    Also, this (from my favorite blog, Powerline):

    Those who favor outsourcing our energy production generally argue that there is no point in opening up domestic drilling, since it would take many years before oil actually begins to flow. In some cases, it will indeed take a considerable time, although this problem is mostly self-inflicted: the delay will result more from regulatory hurdles and litigation than from the time it takes to build platforms, pipelines, and so on.

    But there are areas where, if Congress acts to remove existing bans on drilling, oil could be flowing in a matter of months, not years. Foremost on this list is oil off the coast of California. We asked Dan Kish, Senior Vice President, Policy, at the Institute for Energy Research to comment. This is what he told us:

    For oil, California is the quickest relief. Existing platforms there would allow access to some of the leases companies paid $1.1 billion for in 1981, but have been precluded from developing for 26 years. California is the nation's largest consumer of gasoline, so it could go directly to their extensive refinery network, also. The estimates are that 10 billion barrels exist off the coast of California, and tankers full of imported oil and Alaska North Slope oil go through those protected waters every day.
    Santa Barbara is also home to one of the largest oil seep trends ever observed, and in one small area 100 bbls per day seep to the surface, except around an existing producing platform that releases the pressure causing the seeps. 100% of the oil on the beaches in Santa Barbara county, and 50% of the oil on the beaches of LA County are caused by Santa Barbara's seeps. The local group Stop Oil Seeps advocates drilling there to improve the environment.


    Off California, oil could be flowing in less than a year. For us to send hundreds of billions of dollars overseas, so that Venezuelans, Nigerians, Russians, Saudis, Canadians and Mexicans can do the high-paying jobs that hundreds of thousands of Americans would be delighted to do, is insane.

  • Sandy||

    Wow an increase in demand with a supply that hasn't been heavily invested in because low prices discouraged investment previously is political? I wasn't aware we lived in a command economy. (Constitutional Peasant: You're fooling yourself! We're living in a dictatorship!)

    Oh, but in 2 years we could have some more oil from good patriotic Amurikin sources, which will go into the global production pool, thus proving the author isn't familiar with the term "fungible".

    Well, this is still better than the piece a few years back on how depression is just stories.

  • miche||

    As I just went back to work in the petroleum field, I say drill everywhere.

  • ||

    Drilling ANWR won't solve our energy problem. At best, it will only alleviate it for a few years.

    That said, I am for drilling the oil from there, if only to get the idiots on both sides who are turning this into a culture war issue to get the fuck over themselves so we can concentrate on putting together a comprehensive energy policy that will address the issue of constrained supply in a world of ever-increasing demand.

  • ||

    environmental lawsuits "every step of the way,"
    ...
    will also plague any attempts to develop alternative energy sources, at least in a timely manner. We already hear complaints about windmills killing birds, and when someone proposes a large solar power plant in the desert the advocates of the tortise and ground squirrel will fight the building of those facilities just as hard as the caribou lovers fight drilling in ANWR. And what will those tidal based systems do to the dolphins? Hydro dams fill up beautiful valleys and block salmon runs. Even the holy grail, fusion, isn't 100% clean. So, what will it be folks? Drill in Alaska, or tear up a bunch of desert, or hurt something else? But until we realize that "none of the above" is not a useful response, there won't be any solutions anytime soon.

  • ||

    Ice Pilot -

    Concede? Hardly, but I wanted to avoid a debate along the lines of "ANWR's a wasteland. No, it's not -- it's been called 'America's Serengeti.' No, it's desolate tundra." And so forth.

    As for the conserving land to"shoot and eat wildlife" point, we could also get into an argument over the ramifications of predator control across the US. Wildlife management in the form of hunting is now nearly a necessity. Even the early greats of the conservation movement admitted this. Not a lot of folks talk about deer overpopulation (same with Mustangs, though that's got a lot of people riled up).

    And finally, as to the straw man argument. Developing land doesn't destroy isn't economic value, but it certainly shifts it. Wilderness areas in the lower 48 attract people precisely because they're undeveloped. I like reading books about conglomerates, but I don't go into the woods to see them.

    And finally, the largest point which we disagree is probably that ecological value ought to translate into economic value. I say it's an information problem. If people knew more, they'd care more. But they don't, and so the value of nature is diminished. But I doubt either of us will be much moved from our positions on this point.

  • ||

    My fingers have gotten ahead of my brain again. It should have read: developing land doesn't destroy its value

  • ||

    ANWR oil would "only" be about 9% of current domestic production, huh? That's like saying the GDP went up "only" 9%. Or Bill Gates is giving you "only" 9% of his wealth. Folks, 9% of a huge number is still a very large amount.

  • ||

    What public benefit is ANWR producing in its current status?

    It protects a lot of species.


    Which begs the question of public benefit, but I'll stipulate that there is some.

    The next question is: will drilling in ANWR destroy those species? I think the answer is pretty clearly no, given modern technology and standards. So the public benefit is preserved, and we get to drill! Everybody wins!

  • ||

    ANWR oil would "only" be about 9% of current domestic production, huh?

    Why is it that the 9% that ANWR can produce is too little to do anything about, but the equally small percentages from various renewables must be pursued, stat, damn the torpedos taxpayers!

  • ||

    TOED - Regarding ANWR as a "Serengeti" - Again, we agree! But that's because it is HUGH!! We can develop the coastal plain and you can still keep 18 million acres of your precious pristine wilderness. That's what makes this argument so bizarre. Hardly anyone has ever been there (for the record, I have, several times), yet they invest so much emotion into the issue. Environmentalists seem unable to compromise on ANWR, even though by giving "Big Oil" a million acres on the coast they "win" 18 to one.

    BTW, that "Big Oil" is American oil, American jobs, American economic development ...

  • ||

    """The next question is: will drilling in ANWR destroy those species? I think the answer is pretty clearly no, given modern technology and standards. """

    Clearly no, until it's yes. Modern technology only works if you use it. Standards only work when obeyed.

    As part of the agreement for the Alaskan pipeline, oil companies agreed to using only double hull ships in that area. The Alaskan Valdez was not allowed, by that agreement, to operate in that area since it was a single hull. The oil companies did not care about holding up their end of the bargan after they got what they wanted. Why should we believe they will honor standards and use modern technology this time? Because they are playing the fear card?

  • ||

    Ice Pilot --

    "Environmentalists seem unable to compromise on ANWR, even though by giving "Big Oil" a million acres on the coast they "win" 18 to one."

    I was under the impression we'd already compromised on the rest of the North Slope: NPR-A, the state and native lands and all that.

    Work calls, however, so I won't be back to check on this forum for a long while.

  • ||

    TOED - Just for your information. That whole coastal section of ANWR was originally set aside for, guess what? Oil exploration.

  • ||

    Those who are so damned stupid that they need a case to be made for the obvious aren't going to be swayed by words.

  • Rakune||

    TOED - Mea culpa I should have recognize simple typo for what it was (I have the highest typo per comment rate on the internet). But one million barrels per day is not an insiginificant portion of 86* Million bpd of current global oil production. The differnece between shortage and glut is only two or three percent. On the other hand that oil is not going anywhere, putting off drilling for a decade or two will not affect the long term results.

    *depends on how you define oil, crude plus condenste plus natrual gas liquids plus ethanol becomes 86 Mboe.

  • ||

    Will recoverable oil run out someday?

    Short answer? No.

    Longer answer? As the oil that can be most inexpensively extracted is depleted, other sources of energy will become more economical to produce, leading to a decline in oil extraction.

  • Jaycephus||

    I hate liberal enviromentalists now. Literally HATE them.

    Just as a thought-exercise, if we literally said SCREW the damn animals, go drill for oil guys, as fast as you can, however you want... how many species would die? ANY??? I submit that it would be none! I would be surprised if there would even be a drop in populations at all, GIVEN THE NATURE OF THE AREA IN QUESTION.


    Now surely there is a middle solution between not getting our own oil and somehow 'destroying' Alaska. Especially at $100/barrel.

    Furthermore, libs and envirodips act like Obama is some kind of genius because he advacates keeping our tires inflated. AT BEST, IF everyone actually does it, we might save 3%, but something that is estimated on the low end to help by 10% is NO GOOD????


    Enviro-Dip said:
    '"From an economic perspective, you can't prove that any wilderness is worth anything at all." Just ask the outdoors industry how much money it makes off backpacking, kayaking, camping and so forth. People, lots and lots of them, visit wilderness areas.'

    What an enviro-turd. How many people go backpacking, kayaking, or camping in the desert? How many go to the AREA IN QUESTION????

  • ||

    I get it now ... many of you are on crack! That explains so much ...

    1) Yes, they're not making oil, anymore
    2) Yes, most of the low hanging fruit has been suckedplucked
    3) Yes, it costs more and takes longer to suck oil from the places that are left
    4) Some kind of pressing need to drill in sensitive areas? Get off the pipe, people.

    According to the CIA Factbook (http://indexmundi.com/g/r.aspx?c=us&v=95), the U.S. currently EXPORTS over 1 million barrels of oil PER DAY. So the oil that we might realize from despoiling ANWR is slightly LESS than what we EXPORT every day! 1 million barrels out, 875,000 barrels in ... do the math.

    Once that fragile ecosystem has been destroyed, and don't kid yourselves, oil exploration WILL destroy it UTTERLY, it and the oil will be gone forever. Then it's on to the Arctic Circle, isn't it? Nuke it out with Russia for a share of that shrinking pie. Then where? Will it finally be obvious to you turkeys that the oil ship has sailed?

    Don't be trying to fool us or yourselves that drilling in ANWR will result in ANYthing other than more profits for BushCo ... long after they have been (thankfully) ushered out of office.

    Give it up, crackheads! Continuing the bullshit that oil exploration is anything but a dead enterprise exposes you for mindless drones.

    Unless "libertarian" means "fuck the planet, I got mine", then y'all better face up to the real facts that the oil companies are rapists who don't give a shit about you or your kids. You can join 'em, or you can educate yourselves. Either way, most of these comments are a disgrace to thinking people everywhere.

  • Sammy||

    I'm for drilling in ANWR for one reason, it's the only way to get the Republicans to shut the fuck up. Do the same with offshore drilling.

    Then, when our problem isn't even close to being solved, we'll have to face a future of expensive energy, and actually do something about it.

  • Justen||

    Given the choice between ANWR and offshore drilling I'd much rather see ANWR drilled. Unfortunately, idealistic situations aside, the fact is that political barriers in the U.S. aren't likely to go away any time soon and their *will* be legal entanglements and frustrations that will result in slow development. Not to mention exploiting oil in subarctic tundra is a completely different game from drilling offshore in Brazil, with a whole different and more extreme set of problems and complications that have nothing to do with legalities.

    I would personally be amenable to a proposal that looked at opening up more oil exploitation as well as promoting nuclear and renewable energy, but unfortunately it has to be either-or in politics. Bush, McCain & Co want to pretend that renewable energy is a non-answer and oil exploitation is a magic wand, and Obama and environmentalists believe the exact opposite, and the entire baby boomer generation is terrified of nuclear energy, so that's pretty much untouchable. Ugh.

  • ||

    Once that fragile ecosystem has been destroyed, and don't kid yourselves, oil exploration WILL destroy it UTTERLY, it and the oil will be gone forever. Then it's on to the Arctic Circle, isn't it? Nuke it out with Russia for a share of that shrinking pie. Then where? Will it finally be obvious to you turkeys that the oil ship has sailed?

    Do you have to change the sheets in the morning or does mommy do that for you? I've walked past lots of developement in wilderness areas and, hold on to hat James, the ecosystems have not been UTTERLY destroyed. They seem to get along fine with logging, commercial fishing, mineral extraction of various sorts, and animals still feed on plants that still grow in spite of all that human activity.

    I've heard the spiel about the fragile arctic ecosystem so don't bother. It's true the system is fragile and we are absolutely aware of that. Precautions will be taken and damage will be minimized.

    Yes, oil will get spilled. Some critters will meet a premature end because of it. I'll feel sad about it. No species is going to be exterminated though. The vast majotirty of the "pristine wilderness" that almost nobody fucking visits called ANWR will remain untouched pristine wilderness. I'll feel good about that.

    Obama or McCain, GOP or Dems on the hill, it won't matter. In 10 - 12 years oil will be flowing from ANWR.

  • D.W.||

    Okay, first let me say that I, for one, am tired of the eviromentalists wockos lobbying the democrats and republicans in congress and costing me more at the pump. It is time for this crap to stop. These idiots act as if they are the only people who live on this earth. Will it take another civil war to defeat these people and their bought and paid for politicans. If I ever hear one of these people talking about the enviroment and then see them filling their tank, well, it might be time to declare war. And global warming is a hoax, otherwise these activists wouldn't be afriad to debate the issue.

  • ||

    Jaycephus --

    I'm sorry you hate environmental types. I'll grant that many of them can be wackos, but for my part, I believe there's an economic argument to be made in favor of (limited) wilderness. I'd bet you and I have exactly the same opinion on the folks screaming about oil industry profits. Anyway, I'll try to respond as best I can.

    Your thought exercise:
    - Fails to demonstrate why no animals would face any danger. ANWR protects more than caribou. In fact, it's home to more than 250 species.

    -Fails to acknowledge the existence of a complex ecosystem comprising not just animals, but an array of plants and biota as well.

    Compromise solution: Drill all that newfound oil offshore in the Arctic. Environmentalists have a much weaker argument for protection there.

    I'm not sure about the Obama comment. 10%? Regardless, he's advocated much worse things, like windfall profit taxes, for instance. No one can really be against properly-inflated tire, though.

    Saving the best for last:
    "What an enviro-turd. How many people go backpacking, kayaking, or camping in the desert? How many go to the AREA IN QUESTION????"

    The original poster had asserted that wilderness (as a whole) had no economic value. I was responding to that and not to the economic value of ANWR in particular. (For that discussion, you can look above to the thoughts on ecological vs. economic value.)

  • JK||

    ANWR reserves: 10 billion barrels
    US daily oil consumption: 20.6 million barrels/day
    So, if it we were able to access all of those reserves, it could fuel our petrol needs for 485 days.

    It is nothing to sneeze at, but it is far from a solution. I think the question is this:
    Is 1.3 years of oil (at today's consumption rates) worth violating a National Wildlife Refuge?

    I think there is mistrust on both sides here. The environmentalists don't trust the oil companies to stop at the Dulles Airport sized parcel of land if there is more oil to be had in different areas. If our Wildlife Refuges can be compromised, are our National Park next?

    Conversely, the environmentalists are distrusted as not really wanting a solution that does not involve primitive lifestyles and socialist mandates.

  • ||

    J sub D: I have been "through" many, many areas that have been used for resource extraction, with timber harvesters being the best of the nasty lot. I'm pretty sure that you were walking "past" active sites, if your impression was that the areas were harmed less than significantly. Visit an area where the oil has been sucked dry, and then compare. There is a huge, disturbing difference in the quality of the land, and, therefore, the amount it can contribute to the ecosystem. I'm not talking about the animals, rest their little animal souls ... should there ever prove to be some.

    (Timber "management" has gotten much better in the continental U.S., lately, just so you know that I know.)

    It comes down to how much we are willing to sacrifice for a paltry extension of a short-lived energy source.

    You're willing to sacrifice a lot more than I am. I can recognize that, even from under my Mommy-laundered sheets. That would be cool if you weren't also so willing to sacrifice MY shit in the bargain.

    It would be nice if more folks recognized that there are more options for supplying the energy needs of the Peoples of Earth that are available at a far lower total cost than to continue this foolish and destructive pursuit of such a limited resource for the practical benefit of so few.

    Y'all must have missed the OPEC Secretary-General stating that there's plenty of oil to continue to meet global needs, a few months ago. I don't have a link, but it's out there. Sure, not enough oil to meet expected need will be the equation post-2030, but if we don't kick alternative, non-depleting energy production really soon, all our fun go bye-bye, as my Mommy says, sooner than later.

    Also, check here (that Saleri guy you've heard of).

    Oh ... a reminder to do some research on historic fuel prices and availability and what was going on in the world during various spikes and dips. Be sure to check out the longest sustained increase in history ... starting around mid-2002. I know, blahblahBushblahblah ... but more information is better, right?

  • ||

    Let's try doing what libertarians are supposed to do -- discuss this issue using critical thinking - ie, facts and evidence.

    1. Ice Pilot said," We can develop the coastal plain and you can still keep 18 million acres of your precious pristine wilderness. ...by giving "Big Oil" a million acres on the coast they "win" 18 to one."
    Jaycephus says "if we literally said SCREW the damn animals, go drill for oil guys, as fast as you can, however you want... how many species would die? ANY??? I submit that it would be none! I would be surprised if there would even be a drop in populations at all, GIVEN THE NATURE OF THE AREA IN QUESTION."
    Answer:
    The Porcupine caribou herd has lived, migrated through, and bred in ANWR for over 15,000 years. Their preferred calving ground is precisely where the drilling is proposed, ie on the coastal plain called the 1002 Area. Why there? Because that is where the temperature is mildest, the grass is richest, and the winds are strong enough to keep the bugs down so that the newborn calves can survive. In a good year, the caribou will calve in Area 1002, and the calf survival rate is 50%. In a bad year, if the snow doesn't melt soon enough, the caribou have to calve elsewhere, and the calf survival rate is 25%. This is not enough to sustain the herd, so if drilling occurs in Area 1002, the herd will likely die off. In other Arctic caribou herds like in Prudhoe Bay, the most consistent behavior seen in caribou is that they avoid drilling infrastructure during calving and for several weeks afterwards, so we can conclude that it is quite possible that drilling in ANWR will lead to the gradual extinction of the Porcupine herd. To say that there are another 18 million acres for them is irrelevant - might as well tell the oil companies they have another 18 million acres to drill in. The oil just happens to be in the one spot that the caribou need to survive. Where's the middle ground, Jaycephus?
    For someone who says he's been there many times, Ice Pilot, I wonder that you've never noticed that the area in question (ANWR) is incredibly diverse ecologically. And it is definitely not a wasteland. But I guess it depends on your point of view when you look at acres of wilderness. I've had to fight off a landfill site on my property when the city claimed that the land in question "wasn't used for anything". They hadn't asked my opinion on that!
    The existence of this caribou herd supports many other species, including the Inupiat and Athabaskan people who have depended on this herd for survival for over 10,000 years. So drilling in ANWR would negatively affect many species including people who have lived there a lot longer than the European colonists. Where's the middle ground, Jaycephus?

    2. Ice Pilot says "Drilling technology has improved significantly since the 1970's. Slant drilling accesses underground volumes orders of magnitude greater than the surface footprint. As to roads - they are only used in the winter, on top of the ice and therefore have absolutely no environmental impact. They disappear when the ice melts."

    The first part sounds good and it may be just that simple, but it is simply untrue that roads have no environmental impact. Even lightly used roads compact the soil sufficiently to alter water movement beneath them . I have studied biological systems in the Arctic and seen two entirely different ecosystems evolve from one ecosystem, on either side of a single lane road through the tundra, due to blockage of subsoil water drainage. It changed the survival of nearly every plant, and therefore insect and animal species right up the food chain, in both areas for many hundreds of square miles.

    This debate is about values. ANWR is not just wilderness, it is one of the largest untouched wilderness areas left in the world, and is extremely valuable to hundreds of American and Canadian scientists as a model of Arctic ecosystems. Are there other Arctic ecosystems to study? Not as pristine as this one. Are there other places to drill oil? Lots of them. If you value THIS oil more than THIS ecosystem, you are choosing to harm something irreplaceable in order to get something you can easily get elsewhere. Not the smart choice.

  • ||

    PS: To paraphrase Ayn Rand --
    the word "refuge" has an exact meaning.

  • ||

    I have no problem with drilling in any of these areas but i do not understand why it has to be now; because gas costs $4/gal? Can't anyone out there conceive of a time in the future when those deposits my be even more critically needed. There are a number of likely future scenarios that will make high prices at the pump seem like a minor hardship. Our economy is dependent on the use of oil but not on the production of it. why not save what little oil we do have for some future generation, when it may be not only a valuable rescource but a gift

  • ||

    It's hard to take an article seriously that starts out pushing a bill by Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who earlier this week said, (quoting TPMCentral,http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/08/gop_rep_to_environmentalists_j.php)

    '"[Pelosi] is committed to her global warming fanaticism to the point where she has said that she's just trying to save the planet," Bachmann told the right-wing news site OneNewsNow. "We all know that someone did that over 2,000 years ago, they saved the planet -- we didn't need Nancy Pelosi to do that."'

  • Billy Beck||

    "Pristine wilderness is worth more than 36 Billion dollars, imho."

    Splendid! Formalize your offer and get with it.

  • Chad||

    I am an environmentalist. A pretty hard-core one in fact.

    We should drill damned near everywhere we can (I might except a few national treasures like Yellowstone, Yosemite, or the Grand Canyon...so sue me). We should drill ANWR. We should drill in the gulf. We should drill off California. Indeed, the first rig should be set up right on Pelosi's house, which we can take with the eminent domain she loves so much. Who cares if there is oil there...we need to do it just for spite and good fun!

    That being said, I will only agree to this drilling under two conditions:

    1: We sell the oil rights at a reasonable price. The reason the oil companies are making ridiculous profits is not because their taxes are too low, but because we were almost criminally negligent in selling the oil rights. Essentially, they pay 15% royalties, before loopholes which reduce this significantly. This is way too low. With oil well above $100 a barrel and likely to be even higher by the time we actually drill this oil, there is no reason we the people don't keep $100+/barrel and the oil companies get $20-30, rather than the reverse.

    2: Every single last drop of this oil-money windfall goes to advancing the renewable technologies that we will need in the long term.

    There are tens of billions of barrels of oil in ANWR and OCS. That means TRILLIONS of dollars of revenue, if we are not stupid - enough to take a big bite out of the dual problems of global warming and energy indepedence.

  • Chad||

    "This debate is about values. ANWR is not just wilderness, it is one of the largest untouched wilderness areas left in the world, and is extremely valuable to hundreds of American and Canadian scientists as a model of Arctic ecosystems. Are there other Arctic ecosystems to study? Not as pristine as this one."

    I am sorry, bioscholar, but your research isn't worth a trillion dollars, which is a very conservative estimate of the value of the oil we would have to give up. Get over it. Nor is some particular herd of caribou, not that drilling is going to harm them anyway.

    Think about it like this: how much environmental benefit can we buy with that trillion dollars? Many, many times what we would be losing.

    You are right. It is a debate about values. And anyone who values minimal environmental gains over trillions of dollars needs to re-evaluate their values.

  • ||

    Most people agree we'll run out of oil someday, and that day is sooner than later.

    Why don't we save the oil that's in the ground for some future need (can you believe they used to BURN this stuff) and get our asses in gear for an alternative?

    This is like the loggers who said we've got to log the last 1% of old-growth forest to protect our jobs. When that's gone, what?

    And by the way, check your tire pressure. You can start saving 3% today.

  • ||

    Thank you Mr. Ultey. You've made your points with detail and clarity.

  • ||

    "some particular herd of caribou, not that drilling is going to harm them anyway."

    Maybe you should actually read what bioscholar said. The herd will die out if ANWR is drilled.

    Your values are pretty plain - 485 days of oil is more important than the survival of natives who have lived there for 10,000 years.

  • ||

    A lot of you are all wet on this topic. When Carter was in the chair, we imported 30%-35% of our oil from you know who. Now it is 65%-70%. The reason is the left. Also, B.O. doesn't like nuclear, coal, or oil...just wind, solar and new technologies that will come around with no date certain. It is madness to not drill, or is it. The left has alway known that this would happen. They have acted to put us in this position purposely. If Russia can make a quick turnaround, we all know we could do it 10-fold,

  • Kevin Carson||

    Just another political gimmick. The oil companies already have more offshore oil reserves leased, that they're not developing, than they'd gain from taking off all restrictions.

    "The Cruel Offshore Drilling Hoax"
    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/7/10/142042/915

  • Charles de Granville||

    The assumption that the oil obtained by drilling offshore or drilling in ANWR will increase domestic production by 33% is uterly false. This oil goes to the OIL COMPANIES, who then sell it on the free market. So there is no guarantee that the oil will be used soley in the United States. In fact, the oil companies are INCREASING the amount of oil they are exporting to foreign countries.

    Futhermore, even if we accept the false premise that more drilling will increase domestic production by 33%, the U.S. is estimated to have access to only 3% of the world's total oil reserves. This is a problem because we CONSUME 25% of all oil that is produced. Hence, we really need to invest in alternative forms of energy if we want to effectively deal with these issues.

  • Chad||

    "Emily Tom | August 14, 2008, 11:41pm | #

    Maybe you should actually read what bioscholar said. The herd will die out if ANWR is drilled.
    "

    bioscholar is making the same whiny arguments that people like him made before we drilled in Prudhoe. The caribou population has exploded since. Even if we narrow our argument to the 1002 area of ANWR, where these caribou often calve, we are still going to use only a small fraction of this land. The animals will just have to move a couple hundred yards. Whoopdie doo. In the meantime, more will survive the winter because they warm themselves using the pipelines (oh, bioscholar "forget" to mention that, presumably because it is "unnatural").

    Even if the herd did die out (unlikely, given what happened next door or the fact that we could change our behavior if a problem did occur), who gives a crap? There are a number of other herds.

    Again, minimal environmental gains are not worth trillions. Any "environmentalist" who cannot see this is blind. They hurt their own movement by trying to press completely idiotic trades on the American people. Drilling the oil, making the fat profits, and harnessing them to make big environmental gains is far more intelligent.

  • Bob A||

    "The meek shall inherit the earth, but not its mineral rights."

    -J. Paul Getty

  • ||

    "U.S. Scientific advances and innovative engineers keep coming up with ways to both discover new fields and keep old ones in production almost indefinitely."

    Well, then why are the major oil companies buying their own stock back with their record profits while putting practically nothing of it into new exploration or increasing production? It's the little oil companies that will profit from this and they won't make more than a brief fizzle of difference to the big energy picture. However, these relatively little companies have put big bucks into campaign contributions. Also, why do Big Oil's own internal reports show that for every nine barrels of production only one barrel from new production comes online? That's why they're buying their stock back. They know it's going through the ceiling soon and that has nothing to do with these dinky little offshore and natural reserves projects.

    This article is full of BS, and that's not a bachelor of science degree. The same media this article accuses of environmentalist bias fails to report that MIT has taken inspiration from photosynthesis to develop a method of electrolysis that inherently keeps the oxygen and hydrogen separate, and uses neutral water (not alkaline/basic). It's much safer, much more efficient, and represents a major breakthrough in hydrogen production that can serve as a storage medium for energy from sustainable sources (http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/oxygen-0731.html).

    Why don't they report that the Hydrosol project in Europe uses solar energy directly with nanotechnology to convert water at 70% efficiency into hydrogen and oxygen and they're also automatically separate in the process? (http://hydrosol-project.org/)

    Why don't they report that Nanosolar has developed a nanotech ink that is much more efficient and cheaper than silicon solar cell technology and recently acquired a printing press that has the capability of producing a gigawatt per year in solar cells that cost less than a dollar per watt. Silicon cells cost around seven dollars per watt. This makes solar competitive with the grid NOW. (http://www.nanosolar.com/about.htm)

    Why don't they tell us that Monash University scientists in Australia are using Goretex(TM) instead of platinum in fuel cells and its just as good, doesn't wear out or become contaminated like platinum, and doesn't cost diddly compared to the raw market price of the platinum at between $3-4K per car. (http://www.nextenergynews.com/news08/next-energy-news8.4.08c.html)

    Why don't they report that Amminex, a Danish company, has a safe medium for hydrogen storage? It's a kind of metallic gravel you can throw a match at and it will just burn slowly like an ember of charcoal. It releases hydrogen with the application of a little engine or fuel cell heat. (http://www.amminex.net/)

    Why don't they tell us about the nanotech ultracapacitor breakthrough at MIT that can store and deliver massive amounts of electrical energy in seconds to eliminate the performance gap between gas and electric vehicles? (http://web.mit.edu/erc/spotlights/ultracapacitor.html)

    Even now with less advanced technology there are two electric sports cars on the market that do 60 mph in 4.0 seconds. Why don't most people have a clue about these things?

    Why do they keep talking about a hydrogen economy as decades away even with massive government sponsoring of basic research when in fact most of these projects have been done with relatively small private investments?

    I'll tell you why. Because most people are so easily duped by the media that they ignore that they are owned, if you chase it up through the holding companies, by five conservative Republican men. They ignore that these men are part of an informal, de facto corporate "club" that doesn't want the public to know that they're running things to keep our money flowing into their pockets.

    The suckers here who say they hate environmentalists are shooting themselves in the same butt their brains are in. The major media owners play a clever game of looking liberal. They hire liberal journalists. HOWEVER, they also have the power to hire and fire the editors who control what gets published and on what page. Stuff that is so important it should be headlined on the front page shows up at the bottom of page Z-13! That's why.

    And tons of suckers in the public don't read anything but the front page and that's full of BS. And they don't pay any real attention to enough real information to recognize the garbage that some politicians pile on top of all this. Drill, drill, drill! They actually buy this crap. You could sell these people snow cones in a blizzard!

  • ||

    Chad says: "Even if the herd did die out, who gives a crap?"

    That's the pro-drilling attitude in a nutshell. You can't reason with people who have such a petulant sense of entitlement to whoever's resources let them continue their chosen lifestyle, regardless of the consequences to anyone else.

    Harnessing oil company profits to "make big environmental gains" won't happen, because the Chads of this world will demand that the money go for .... more drilling.

  • ||

    These people need to ask themselves why oil company EMPLOYEES are giving far more to Obama's campaign than to McCain's. What about that folks; you think they might know something you don't?

  • ||

    Some dingbats are completely unaware that wildlife diversity is a vital part of our life support system and they don't care either about human beings in other places or that simply aren't American. Some of these people are so immoral they would probably kill you if they thought it necessary in an emergency in order for them to stay alive. No real heroes here.

    They're so far gone that there is no point in bothering with them any more than they think it's important to bother with anything much beyond the tip of their silly little noses. They're worse than simply ignorant, which is bad enough. They don't know or care that they are ignorant or care about anybody but number one, or at least family or friends or other people like them if we're lucky. Just remember not to ever give them a loan or do any sort of serious business with them if they don't see any immediate negative consequences of shafting you, because they'll probably take you for everything they can.

    An exception to this are fundamentalist bible thumpers who have some sense of externally imposed morality even if they don't care what we do to non-Americans or perhaps minorities within our country. They don't see these as quite human, so these "others" are fair game in their minds. I don't say this because I'm irreligious or atheistic, since I am neither, but I'm not a literal-minded fundamentalist who thinks we have a God-given right to steal resources from everyone outside our country because they're somehow inferior to us wonderful red-blooded Americans and think you're unpatriotic if you any compassion for human beings in cultures unlike ours.

  • ||

    Oh, and if you have any compassion for animals, they'll really think you're gonzo, since they are completely without compassion for other humans that are "too" different from them, never mind animals, for Pete's sake! What kind of tree hugger are you anyway? You must be nuts if you care about much beyond your immediate little world, watch international news instead of just the local sports scores and your favorite NFL and NBA teams, or know too much about where other countries are on the map and what kind of people live there.

  • ||

    Chad, Trillions of dollars for who?

  • ||

    """I am an environmentalist. A pretty hard-core one in fact."""
    """That being said, I will only agree to this drilling under two conditions:"""

    How hardcore of an enviromentalist can you be if you don't include some sort of environmental protection in your conditions? Not very.

  • ||

    """Chad says: "Even if the herd did die out, who gives a crap"""

    Emily, the herd doesn't care if Chad's family dies out either. So it's mutual.

  • ||

    Nobody knows how much oil is "out there". Emory Lovins/MIT got it wrong in the '70's and got a Nobel Prize - so did the Club of Rome.

    I drove by the new finds, in an area "where there was no gas" near Grapevine TX in July and the gas development wells that stretched south from I635 - and they were clean and squared away doing their business without damaging the neighborhood of houses and toney shopping centers within a few hundred feet. No joke.

    The idea of US companies, who set the bar on quality mineral developments, going to a section of ANWR, a barren God forsaken etc, to drill in an area the size of LaGuardia Airport, and creating some disaster is buffoonery.
    Quality buffoonery, because this idea comes from people who are supposed to be educated - yet they have never been there. It is nearly impossible to travel to ANWR.
    The fauna and flora of these regions will be zero impacted by the directional drilling AND the reclamation of the postage stamp size work areas.
    Go to the Alaskan Pipeline and other western slope projects. You can't tell there has ever been a human there and the ecosystem is intact. Fully. I have been to these places and I am a working scientist who values accuracy far above any political orientation. And I hate politicians because they use our work to spin their BS.

    Well google earth yourself to ANWR and the trip will give you an idea of how assinine our "educated" and political opposition is. Blinkity blink Pelosi and her minion Alibama and his 40 thieves are esoteric, armchair generals. Scarey that they say they will allow votes with conditions. This is a canard. There will be no energy policy for America.

    My brother lives in Brazil, a rancher, and he currently has the news on the OCS find there, estimated between 10 and 40 billion bbl of light crude. His holdings are affected and he is leasing oceanfront for the development as we speak.

    The estimate is for production showing up at the refineries in early 2010 and the plunge in pump prices is already rippling thru.

    10 years my ???.

  • Chad||

    Emily Tom | August 15, 2008, 12:10pm | #

    Chad says: "Even if the herd did die out, who gives a crap?"

    That's the pro-drilling attitude in a nutshell. You can't reason with people who have such a petulant sense of entitlement to whoever's resources let them continue their chosen lifestyle, regardless of the consequences to anyone else.

    Harnessing oil company profits to "make big environmental gains" won't happen, because the Chads of this world will demand that the money go for .... more drilling.


    Emily, you must have missed what I called for earlier.

    1: Sign rational leases where the government keeps most of the profits and the oil companies keep only a fair but modest return on investment.

    2: Drill drill, drill!

    3: Spend 100% of that money on renewable energy and mass transit infrastructure, and related R&D.

    The caribou population in ANWR is about 12% of the US total and less than five percent of the world total of caribou, whose population is stable. Even if something bad happened to this particular herd, it just ain't that big of a deal. And given what has happened when we drilled next door in Prudhoe Bay, ill-effects for the caribou population are rather unlikely anyway.

  • Chad||

    "TrickyVic | August 15, 2008, 4:43pm | #

    Chad, Trillions of dollars for who?

    How hardcore of an enviromentalist can you be if you don't include some sort of environmental protection in your conditions? Not very."

    I am sorry that I didn't make it explicit that I intended normal rules concerning environmental protection to apply. What we are doing in Prudhoe is perfectly acceptable.

    Who should keep the money? WE SHOULD. It is OUR OIL. The oil companies should be paid in a similar manner as to how utilities are regulated - a fair but modest return and nothing more. This stands in stark contrast to what we have done in the past, which is sign almost criminally negligent lease deals where the oil companies got to keep nearly the entire windfall. While Democrats whine about taxes, that isn't the problem. Big oil pays the same taxes (with the same kind of loopholes) as everyone else. The problem is they have gotten rich off our few-bucks-a-barrel leases.

    You may point out that states should get a cut. I would agree, as long as it was held to the same restrictions as the rest of the money: that it all be used for renewables, mass transit, and related R&D within their state.

  • ||

    """The idea of US companies, who set the bar on quality mineral developments, going to a section of ANWR, a barren God forsaken etc, to drill in an area the size of LaGuardia Airport, and creating some disaster is buffoonery. """

    Buffoonery is thinking accidents won't happen.


    """Who should keep the money? WE SHOULD. It is OUR OIL."""

    Good luck with that one.

    """I am sorry that I didn't make it explicit that I intended normal rules concerning environmental protection to apply. What we are doing in Prudhoe is perfectly acceptable."""

    Rules were in place to prevent the Alaskan Valdez accident but the oil companies ignored them. Namely the requirement to use only double hull ships in the area. I would be fine with ANWR drilling if the rules actually had some weight.

  • Chad||

    "TrickyVic | August 15, 2008, 10:08pm | #

    "Rules were in place to prevent the Alaskan Valdez accident but the oil companies ignored them. Namely the requirement to use only double hull ships in the area. I would be fine with ANWR drilling if the rules actually had some weight."

    The Exxon Valdez accident did about $20 billion in damage. The oil up there is worth a trillion dollars. What are the odds of FIFTY such accidents occuring and eating up our profit? Zero. What are the odds of even one serious accident? Vanishingly small, especially since the oil would be shipped by pipeline. And of course, you fail to admit that oil safety has increased by leaps and bounds over the years. Major oil companies have decreased both the magnitude and number of their oil spills by 75% or more since Exxon Valdez. This is nothing radical...such safety improvements have been common among all manufacturing industries.

  • ||

    Colbert explains.
    http://www.comedycentral.com/colbertreport/videos.jhtml?episodeId=179293

    While I am not wild for new drilling, I am of the opinion that even if allowed there would not be much new drilling happening anyway...that would lower prices. Bad for BushCo.

    I would be willing to compromise if all new drilling (tar shale coal etc) were balanced with full Certified CO2 Offsets

    There is a huge potential for getting gas prices effectively lower through improved efficiency.

    WRT ANWR, I imagine the Caribou will adapt. But the park should be expanded.

    Generally more or less pristine wildernesses do have value in stabilizing coast lines, watersheds etc.

  • Sully||

    It's been claimed that in total ANWR can only supply 485 days of US oil consumption - as though that is a small thing. That's a very large thing to 300 Million people who need energy to live. A small footprint impact on ANWR which will be completely restored after its use, can provide all of the liquid fuel that 300 Million people need for a year of good quality life.

    And it's been said that ANWR will only provide about 1 Million Barrels per day of output at its peak. How much land would have to be covered with solar cells to generate an equivalent amount of energy? How many windmills will have to be built to provide equivalent energy?

    Renewables are not miracle solutions, they also have huge environmental costs.

  • Sully||

    Another thing that has been claimed is that it will take 10 years to see production from ANWR or offshore.

    Assuming a crash program how many years will it take for solar or wind to get to the point where they produce energy equivalent to millions of barrels of oil per day?

    And that assumes solar and wind won't themselves run into opposition. Drive out to the Mojave from Southern California and decide if you want the whole country despoiled with windmills like some of the valleys are along the way. Talk to the desert expert environmentalists and see if they're comfortable with covering tens or hundreds of square miles with solar cells or mirrors.

    Someday there will be solar cells efficient and cheap enough to put on rooftops, but that day is probably further away than 10 years no matter how much some bureaucrat is given to "invest" in research which is already being done at high intensity right now.

  • ||

    Wrong comparison Sully, Algae oil is a better comparison.

    How much land has already been converted for human use?

    According to the unit converter at Translator Cafe, One Barrel US of fuel oil has
    just over 1773KWhrs of stored energy.
    A bit over 6 million BTUs. A bit over 60 therms.
    A skosh over 6383 MegaJoules

    But, most of that barrel is wasted in the conversion to used work. MIght wanna start there.

    Eventually there will be no more cheap oil; extreme efficiencies and the land for solar-something-or-other will have to be arranged & pursued anyway.

    It will be millions of years before the naturally occurring oil replenishes itself. Algae are much more efficient than waiting.

  • ||

    I've read here that it will cost around 30 something billion to develop ANWR, and this will result in an almost negligible negative price forcing. A smaller investment in fuel efficient transport will yield better return on investment IMO...and we can still drill later if we want.

  • ||

    Re: amount of land already converted for human use:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080812135702.htm

    make better use of what we have already messed with.

  • Chad||

    Sam-Hec | August 16, 2008, 2:59am | #

    I've read here that it will cost around 30 something billion to develop ANWR, and this will result in an almost negligible negative price forcing. A smaller investment in fuel efficient transport will yield better return on investment IMO...and we can still drill later if we want.


    Thirty billion for more than a trillion dollars of oil? That is a TREMENDOUS return on investment. I think you need to re-check your math.

    A ~1% increase in world oil supply will have a non-trivial impact on oil prices at any time, and definitely in the supply-constrained world we will be living in.

    Oh, and does anyone remember that oil Brazil discovered off-shore two years ago? They are ALREADY DRILLING. Are you saying we can't match the Brazillians at something where we have far more expertise?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    I am getting tired of hearing the fossil fuel opponents routine of singling out one source of supply and claiming it won't solve the problem.

    Some talk about ANWAR and some talk about offshore drilling as if it had to be either or instead of both - and more sources than that.

    We have lots of potential sources for oil - ANWAR, offshore and huge oil shale deposits in the western U.S. We also have the ability to make synthetic gasoline out of coal.We have enormous quantities of coal.

    We can and should be doing ALL these things and it most certainly would make a difference.

  • ||

    Chad,
    my mistake, the $30 billion was for an underground pipeline to transport methane from frozen hydrates. A separate discussion.

    I was trying to think of the cost of setting up the infrastructure just to support the drilling. My thought would not include the operational costs, nor any tagged on Carbon taxes etc. ANd this initial infrastructure sounds like something that tax payers would have to pay for. :(

    My contrary thought was towards better uses of that initial investment wrt to reducing pain at the pump. In 8-10 years we could have a mostly different transportation fleet, a fleet far more energy efficient and thus far less pain at the pump than if drilling were to be expanded. That would be my argument anyway.

    Seperately,
    Why is it that the drilling already allowed for is not taking place?

    My tentative answer is Oil COmpanies don't actually want the price of oil to drop, and they don't much care if consumers are suffering.

  • Chad||

    Gilbert Martin | August 16, 2008, 9:51am | #

    We have lots of potential sources for oil - ANWAR, offshore and huge oil shale deposits in the western U.S. We also have the ability to make synthetic gasoline out of coal.We have enormous quantities of coal.


    Coal-to-oil and shale oil are absolutely out of the question. It takes roughly half the energy in the coal or shale to extract the other half, as compared with about a 3% loss to extract regular oil and refine it. Essentially, this means a doubling of the pollution (CO2 included) relative to current processes. They also take gross amounts of water, which winds up polluted with all sorts of toxic nastiness. They try to contain the water in on-site pools, but we all know how well that works, and how easy it is to keep wildlife out of places we don't want them, right?

    There is no way in cold hell that either of these technologies would be economically competitive if they had to pay for their environmental effects. To the extent they exist or could exist, it is only by grace of an enormous free-public-garbage-dump subsidy.

    Sam-Hec | August 16, 2008, 11:03am | #

    My contrary thought was towards better uses of that initial investment wrt to reducing pain at the pump. In 8-10 years we could have a mostly different transportation fleet, a fleet far more energy efficient and thus far less pain at the pump than if drilling were to be expanded. That would be my argument anyway.


    Half the cars on the road today will be on the road when this oil comes out of the ground. The other half will be more efficient than what they replaced, but not nearly enough to offset oil consumption growth in China, India, etc. Oil demand is still growing world-wide with no end in sight, though the growth has been mitigated.

    Seperately, why is it that the drilling already allowed for is not taking place?

    Insufficient return on investment - the same criteria every major company uses in the end. They have already sucked out the easy oil out of those places, and any remaining oil is either undiscovered or not worth drilling. The high prices have actually spurred quite a bit of new exploration and drilling in these areas as new areas can meet the ROI criteria established by the companies.






  • ||

    We shouldn't drill at ANWR because that would just reward the boneheaded national energy policy we've had to date. We've foolishly allowed short sighted businessmen, who've only been motivated by short term profits, to steer our national energy policy and drilling at ANWR would only be more of the same. Time for the business community to take responsibility for their past mistakes, including their awful Un-American conservative policies in general, and do what's in the best interests of the American people. The fact that we're currently in an energy crisis only proves that the oil companies are incompetent stewards of American interests and deserve to be dumped. We should just conficate their equipment and finacial resourses, jail their CEOs, and Nationalize our oil and other natural resourses. It's high time to send the awful greedy Capitalists to the dust-bin of history along with the other terrible criminals who have degraded the enviornment and humanity.

  • Robert7||

    "...ANWR, a barren God forsaken..."
    - Genno NYC

    There ain't no such thing. It's in the eye of the beholder and it's very naive to think that way. Just as importantly or more so, more oil is the PROBLEM, not the answer. If you read my first post here, oil is already on the verge of being obsolete as fuel.

    We and our descendants need oil for plastics and other valuable products that come from it. They WILL NOT UNDERSTAND why we just burnt it all up for them! It's stupid. Even if it were not on the verge of being obsolete, it would be obsolete soon, within less than a lifetime EASILY no matter how conservative your estimates are unless you just live in denial on another planet.

    The idea that a solar/hydrogen/electric economy is decades away is DISINFORMATION!!! All you have to do to understand that is follow the links I provided in my first post here:

    Robert7 | August 15, 2008, 11:43am

    Some of your posts after that indicate NO UNDERSTANDING AT ALL of what's actually going on. Don't wait for the major media outlets to tell you. Once again, if you chase their ownership up the tree to the holding companies at the top, you'll find they're all owned by five conservative Republican men who don't want you to know that they manipulate you with disinformation so they can keep your money flowing into their pockets.

    Meanwhile, Silicon Valley venture capital companies, the same ones that financed the infotech industry, are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into green energy. Why? How are they selling this to their investors?

    Short turnaround:
    You can build 5 to 7 solar electric plants that can supply electricity night and day to 100s of thousands of homes with CURRENT TECHNOLOGY in the same time you could build ONE nuclear plant.

    Timing:
    The oil companies in cahoots with the auto industry and others have been very conservative, stomping out serious business attempts at alternative energy for decades as potential competitors. This is the strongest testimony that alternative energy is viable or they wouldn't fear it. Don't listen to what they say. Watch what they DO!

    This has created an ENORMOUS INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY, because there is a huge amount of water behind the dam now, as indicated in the links included in my first post referred to above.

    Huge returns:
    The infotech industry was worth billions of dollars. The energy industry is worth TRILLIONS of dollars.

    I got this information on the venture capitalists in Silicon Valley from an expensive scientific journal I subscribe to. However, you can read more free here:

    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2008/07/greening-of-silicon-valley.html
    Then do a Find on:
    Vinod Khosla

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Coal-to-oil and shale oil are absolutely out of the question."

    Not on your say so.



    "It takes roughly half the energy in the coal or shale to extract the other half, as compared with about a 3% loss to extract regular oil and refine it."

    Says you - I doubt you actually know anything about it.

  • Chad||

    "It takes roughly half the energy in the coal or shale to extract the other half, as compared with about a 3% loss to extract regular oil and refine it."

    Says you - I doubt you actually know anything about it.


    Rather than spending time writing stupid posts, wouldn't it be easier to head off to Google or Wikipedia and get the facts for yourself?

    I am PhD chemist, and quite well understand the fact that you don't gasify coal with magic...you do it with lots of fuel. Shale oil and tar sands are heated to high temperature as well to extract the oil, and both processes use incredible amounts of water.
    With current technology, you basically use 2 units of energy to make 1, doubling your emissions. Thermodynamics won't let you change that ratio very much.

    "Clean coal" is a myth. It does not exist. "Slightly less filthy coal" does exist, but it can't compete with wind. And if you are going claim we are going to bury all the CO2 underground, good luck making that work, because now you have to spend another 30% of the energy to extract and compress the CO2, after you already wasted half squeezing oil out of rocks.

    These two technologies cannot compete without enormous subsidy. There is no reason to allow them or consider them.

  • TokyoTom||

    Jon, with all due respect, while I understand your hand-wringing about dysfunctional government in Washington, what's "destroying the value of the dollar and wrecking our balance of trade, making oil prohibitively expensive, and sending hundreds of billions of dollars to foreign lands-many of whom are no friends of America" is not a paralyzed government, but rather TOO MUCH government that is misused by politicians to put alot of money into their friends' pockets.

    Accordingly, the LAST THING we need is for "Washington ... to declare a national emergency program to produce energy."

    And arguments about "energy security" are sheer nonsense.

    That said, I am prepared to drill in ANWR and elsewhere, but why should we give any of this money to a government that is just going to blow it all on "defense", "energy security" or some other garbage? WHY CAN'T AMERICANS GET A DIRECT CUT of the royalties? That would avoid having politicians wasting our money, and incentivize everyone to monitor royalty rates (and payments!) very carefully.

    What's more, I'm sure other enviros would agree, if as part of the deal they get a cut of the action (in monitoring performance) and if as part of the deal we also get a carbon tax that is rebated pro rata to citizens.

    More here (click on my name): http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2008/07/16/breaking-the-senseless-impasse-on-anwr-and-ocs-exploration-and-development-a-tax-and-rebate-proposal.aspx

    TT

  • Chad||

    "That said, I am prepared to drill in ANWR and elsewhere, but why should we give any of this money to a government that is just going to blow it all on "defense", "energy security" or some other garbage? WHY CAN'T AMERICANS GET A DIRECT CUT of the royalties? That would avoid having politicians wasting our money, and incentivize everyone to monitor royalty rates (and payments!) very carefully."

    Because when we give money to Americans, they buy cheap Chinese crap, SUVs, and bloated suburban homes, and that is the last thing we need more of. The government is 9.5 trillion in debt and growing, while our critical infrastructure needs keep growing.

    Libertarian and conservative types always forget the flip side of the coin. They correctly understand that most taxes are "bad for the economy", roughly to the tune of 20%. In other words, about $1.20 is removed from the economy for each dollar the government taxes but only a dollar returned when they spend it. What these people forget, however, is that there are numerous things that only governments can coherently provide that are well worth a 20% premium.

    Sure we should drill...and EVERY SINGLE PENNY should go to building the public transportation and renewable energy infrastructure we will need as the wells begin to run dry.

  • ||

    Hey Chad: Will that public transportation infrastructure be owned and managed by the same people who have been dropping bridges and tunnels on our heads?

    The same people the National Science Foundation says have let over 50% of our public bridges become lethal hazards?

    The same people who run the DC subway that catches people's shoes and hems in escalators and mutilates the helpless passengers?

    The people who decided to build the interstate highway system and thereby subsidize our transition from passenger trains to gas guzzlers?

  • Chad||

    Hey Chad: Will that public transportation infrastructure be owned and managed by the same people who have been dropping bridges and tunnels on our heads?

    First, the reason that bridges are dropping on our heads is that we have been under-funding such infrastructure maintenance so we can keep our taxes low and buy more of the afore-mentioned cheap Chinese crap.

    That being said, I think you should look to Japan as a model of how to run a public transportation system. Japan's system is arguably the best in the world...and guess what, it is privately owned and managed. The government built a big, robust system, many companies piggy-backed on the public system, building competing and complimentary lines, and when the system was large enough, the national company was split and privatized. The same model would work here. The key element for libertarians to understand, however, is that this system could not have arisen without the original public system. It is in no one's private interest to build the first line, or the second, or even the tenth. The value of train lines increases exponentially with the number of lines and stations that are connected. However, the cost increases linearly with the number of stations and lines. At low numbers of lines, cost > value. At high numbers of lines, value >> cost. The number of lines and amount of capital required to reach the inflection point between profitable and unprofitable is hundreds of billions...far beyond the capability of a company or small consortium to finance. The private market simply cannot solve this problem.

    The same people who run the DC subway that catches people's shoes and hems in escalators and mutilates the helpless passengers?

    As compared to the 35000 people that are slaughtered in cars every year? I'll take my chances on the train, where I an order of magnitude safer.

  • ||

    Here are some relevant facts about the issue in question, ie, drilling in ANWR:

    Oil production by the US peaked in 1970 and has been in decline ever since. Even Prudhoe Bay, the largest supply we found since then, has not increased our ability to produce oil up to our peak in 1970.

    Our oil use is now about 20 million barrels a day, of which we produce 1/3 (ie 7 million barrels a day). That is why we import 2/3 of our oil.

    If we open up all of our off-limits federal land to drilling, not just ANWR, we will increase our rate of production by only 2-3 million barrels a day - in ten years.

    The US department of Energy estimates that the oil in ANWR will reduce the price of gasoline at the pump by 4 cents a gallon - in 20 years. At most, ANWR will produce 750,000 barrels a day - but not for a very long time.

    The maximum amount of oil that the TAPS pipeline from Prudhoe Bay can deliver (which would include ANWR oil) is 2 million barrels a day. But Prudhoe plus ANWR won't produce that much. Don't look to the north to bail us out.

    World oil production will likely peak in 3-6 years, and the world will go into a slow decline in oil production. There will always be oil - but it is now harder and much more expensive to extract and refine.

    Conclusion: we cannot solve the problem in the short OR the long term by drilling. It makes sense to put our resources into energy efficiency and alternatives to oil. That's also likely to produce a hell of a lot more jobs. While the rest of the world bids frantically for the last of the oil, America will be developing the alternative they'll come to us to get when the oil is priced out of reach.

  • ConTextant||

    I'm going to stir the pudding with anti-drillers.

    They are missing the point: Gas prices are going up mainly due to demand in India and China; it has little to do with us (our consumption dropped 3%.) China's oil consumption went up 6% in just ONE month! We have to drill for more oil just to keep prices constant. So, we should drill EVERYWHERE.

    The oil shortage is domestic politics at its worst. Pelosi and Reid are preventing drilling HERE, as are the governors of Florida and California. They are pandering to kooky, confused, don't-do-this-but-don't-do-that-either environ"mental"ist constituents, and then turn around and then blame oil companies for an issue THEY created. Upshot? Pelosi (et al) to Americans: drop dead (but vote for us.)

    There have been HUGE finds in the Gulf of Mexico and North Dakota. Chevron found between 3 billion and 15 billion barrels of oil in the Gulf, which if the upper end of the production estimate is reached (and they almost always are), would expand U.S. reserves by 50 percent. The find in North Dakota is up to 100 billion barrels of oil - enough to boost America's oil reserves by TEN times - enough to meet all U.S. oil needs for TWENTY YEARS. Will we be able to get at it? Hello, Pelosi, tell me you give a shit.

    ANWR should be drilled, too. It is a desolate, frozen wasteland. And for the 4 months it thaws out, it is a morass of puddles and mudholes, not some fantasy "pristine" landscape. "Pristine" is just a pretext, anyway, by small minds who believe in a fairy tale morality play where Oil Companies are "evil" and opposing them by any means fair or foul is "good."

    You anti-drillers can't oppose ANWR because of your beloved caribou, either, because their numbers have tripled - one herd even went from 3,000 to more than 23,400! They stay underneath the pipelines (which are hot) which helps the calves survive the winter. Sorry to screw your argument up, bioscholar, Emily, TrickyVic.

    So, anti-drillers, what you are really saying is that 300 million people should suffer for this demonstably wrong idea of "pristine" wilderness, which it isn't, and for a herd of reindeer, which not only aren't being harmed, but are thriving? Seems that as "environmentalists", you should be in favor of drilling...or don't you care that the caribou are being helped? Wilderness means nothing if people have to suffer for it; nature is to be used for the benefit of people. Used responsibly, but it is for people. We are also part of nature.

    New drilling isn't some revolutionary idea: The US already is the biggest oil producer in North America (8.33mil bbl/day). Canada- 3.3mil bbl/day, Mexico- 3.7, Venezuela- 2.8. In the world, only Saudi Arabia (10.7) and Russia (9.7) are bigger. The US is also the biggest consumer (a modern lifestyle requires energy, and our factories use energy to produce goods for those countries that don't), so we have to import oil.

    Why is (needing to) import oil bad?
    1. Our military needs it. If they don't have it, they can't do their job.
    2. We have to send troops abroad to protect our oil sources. I'd rather keep them alive.
    3. We have to coddle dictators.
    4. I'm missing a few others; enlighten me.

    We need oil, imported or otherwise, at a reasonable price, because:
    1. Industry, Power Plants, Hospitals, Government, and Institutions need it. Our economy runs on oil. Or would a depression with 25% unemployment be to your liking? People starving, desperation, etc? How compassionate you are…
    2. Individuals need it, unless you want to bike to grandma's, teleport to work, heat your home with twigs, take your sweetie out to dinner by hiking first, put your food on your back, and not travel anywhere.

    New drilling would also produce 700,000 well paying jobs.

    As for "windfall" profits, did you forget that oil companies are publicly traded, and WE get those profits, thru mutual funds, pension plans, and direct stock ownership? It doesn't just disappear into some billionaire Republican's offshore account to be spent on hookers, booze, and subscriprtions to the 700 club.

    To end my rant, I'll point this at those who consider themselves "compassionate" liberals/socialists. Old time socialists tried to help people. You, on the other hand, worship this abstraction, this god of the environment, and the people be damned. Don't pretend you care about people. Or caribou. Or wilderness. You care about sticking it to those you are jealous of, and everyone else is just collateral damage for your ego. Too simplistic? Make the case.

    You should support drilling, for the reasons stated. Lead, follow or get out of the way.

  • jackman||

    " There have been HUGE finds in the Gulf of Mexico and North Dakota. Chevron found between 3 billion and 15 billion barrels of oil in the Gulf, which if the upper end of the production estimate is reached (and they almost always are), would expand U.S. reserves by 50 percent. The find in North Dakota is up to 100 billion barrels of oil - enough to boost America's oil reserves by TEN times - enough to meet all U.S. oil needs for TWENTY YEARS."

    Then we don't need to drill in ANWR.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement