Ben Lieberman wrote in Washington Times Drilling for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) makes so much sense, it's no wonder opponents must twist the facts to make it controversial. Yesterday, at last, common sense prevailed when the House passed by 308-106 a bill to authorize development of ANWR.
Why couldn't they have just passed the budget reconciliation act where the Senate had already approved ANWR drilling?We're talking about 10 billion barrels of domestic oil in an area where there has been a proven track record for environmentally responsible drilling. Yet a host of tall tales from environmental activists and like-minded journalists has made it a tough fight in Washington.
What they should have done is just insisted on the drillers using the environmentally sensitive techniques they have said they will use.The current action in Congress involves adding ANWR drilling to the defense appropriations bill. Given continued high oil prices and political turmoil in many oil-producing nations, now seems to offer a good chance to get ANWR done. But this will finally occur only if the ANWR myths are exposed. Here are several:
- ANWR drilling would harm the environment. Some perspective is helpful to understand the ecological insignificance of ANWR drilling. ANWR comprises 19 million acres in Northeast Alaska, 17.5 million of which are totally off-limits to drilling or any other kind of economic activity. This is why the news footage showing beautiful snowcapped mountains is misleading, because the drilling would not be allowed anywhere near those areas. Only the flat and featureless coastal plain would be affected, and even there only a small portion of its 1.5 million acres. The current version of the bill limits the surface disturbance to 2,000 acres, a small piece of a big coastal plain in a very big wildlife refuge in the biggest state in the Union.
An area more like the size of a postage stamp on a huge sheet of paper.