It's the end of the world as we know it...

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Why should the Republicans get to fuck on my earth too? Basically, this oil they are so desperate to get to is a 6 months supply -- at best. And that's only a portion of what we use - that's not even 100% of a 6 month supply. And please. Are you really making the world safer? Not to mention that currently, the #1 country that the US imports oil from is Canada. That hotbed of terrorist activity there.

Senate Prepares to Vote on Arctic Drilling
H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Mindful of rising oil and gasoline prices, a sharply divided Senate was close Wednesday to removing the biggest obstacle to opening an ecologically rich Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling, which would deliver a major energy policy win for President Bush (news - web sites).

"We believe we have the votes," said Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who for more than two decades has tried to persuade Congress to authorize lease sales in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Democrats and moderate Republicans repeatedly blocked the effort.

Opponents of drilling complained that Republicans this time were trying "an end run" by attaching the refuge provisions to the budget, a tactic that would allow the measure to pass with a majority vote.

"It's the only way around a filibuster" which requires 60 votes to overcome, countered Stevens.

Drilling advocates argued that the refuge's oil will reduce U.S. reliance on imports. Opponents said the oil won't flow for nearly a decade and even then hardly make a dent in the more than 20 million barrels of oil the country uses daily while posing a threat to what environmentalists regard as an ecological treasure.

The 19-million-acre refuge was set aside for protection by President Eisenhower in 1960, but Congress in 1980 said its 1.5 million acre coastal plain could be opened to oil development if Congress specifically authorizes it.

"We won't see this oil for 10 years. It will have minimal impact," insisted Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., a co-sponsor of an amendment that would strip the arctic refuge provision from the budget document.
It is "foolish to say oil development and a wildlife refuge can coexist," she said.

But Sen. George Allen, R-Va., said development of the refuge would "bring energy security" by reducing U.S. reliance on imports and produce construction jobs not only in Alaska but elsewhere in the oil industry.

President Bush, who has urged Congress repeatedly to allow oil companies to tap the refuge's crude, said Wednesday it's "a way to get some additional reserves here at home on the books."

The House has repeatedly passed measures over the years to allow drilling in ANWR only to see the legislation stalled in the Senate. But last week, the House refused to include an ANWR provision in its budget document, although any differences between the Senate and House versions would likely be resolved in negotiations.

Drilling supporters argued that access to the refuge's oil was a matter of national security and that modern drilling technology would protect the region's wildlife.

"We know we've got to do it right. ... It's a fragile environment," said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, maintaining that oil companies that would drill in the refuge would be subject to the most stringent environmental requirements in the world.

Environmentalists contended that while new technologies have reduced the drilling footprint, ANWR's coastal plain still would contain a spider web of pipelines that would disrupt calving caribou and disturb polar bears, musk oxen and the annual influx of millions of migratory birds.

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said even at peak production the refuge would account for less than 2.5 percent of U.S. oil needs.

"How in the world can this be the centerpiece of our energy policy?" asked Durbin, arguing that more conservation and more fuel efficient automobiles would save more oil than the Alaska refuge would produce.

The refuge's oil represents "the most significant onshore production capacity" in the country, said Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M. "We should do everything we can to produce as much as we can."

Drilling proponents acknowledged that even if Congress gives the go-ahead for tapping ANWR's oil, it would have no impact on soaring oil prices and tight supplies. The first lease sales would not be issued until 2007, followed by development seven to 10 years later, Interior Secretary Gale Norton said.

How much oil will be found is in dispute. Only one exploratory well has been drilled within the refuge, and the results have been kept secret. The U.S. Geological Survey, using seismic studies, estimated in 1998 that between 5.6 billion to 16 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil is likely to be found.


  • At 7:02 PM, Blogger Kevin said…

    Yeah, I read this one too. If I understand this drilling plan correctly, the US will in the absolute best case recieve just over two years' worth of oil from the whole refuge. So we're trading two years of oil, a (maybe) 2.5% increase in annual oil production, for centuries of undisturbed natural beauty. Take that Al Queda!


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