As gas prices continue
to soar, both reflecting and promoting bad foreign and domestic policies,
it's time to recognize that there is another way.
- We don't have to be imperialists, bombing and attacking oil-rich nations.
- We don't need to invade and occupy much of the Muslim world.
- We don't need to fear the consequent terrorism in our cities.
- We don't have to lose our freedoms to a police state.
- We don't have to make ourselves feared and hated.
- We don't have to wreck our national budget.
- We don't need to shiver in the winters to come.
- We can drill and produce oil and gas in America.
Ten days hiking and boating in Alaska gives one a credible idea of the incredible
abundance of animal and marine life. Hikers are mainly warned how to handle
bears, while fishermen bring up incredibly large fish. The lush ocean is now
successfully protected while the land near the coasts is equally flush with
A few statistics:
- Alaska equals some 20 percent of the whole American land mass; it and Canada's
west coast and inlets offer more miles of pristine coastline than most of
all the rest of America. It abounds in animal and marine life.
- Alaska's western half hardly even has roads, its streams nurture millions
of salmon, and it has only 27,000 human inhabitants, mostly Eskimos who now
get oil royalties and welfare. The whole state has less than a million people.
- Half the state is national forests or parks. Bears are so plentiful in America
that even New Jersey has over a thousand of them. Over a thousand moose populate
just the Anchorage area, out of which 300 were killed by traffic last year
and over 300 died of starvation in one winter.
- Even the cute sea otters now swim around in abundance. They were once hunted
nearly to extinction by Russians who traded their warm pelts to Chinese for
tea. Alaska's southern waters offer some of the richest marine life in the
- At ANWR in the north, oil drilling
would "use" one tenth of 1 percent of the whole preserve, which hardly has
any human life during winters. The area only has three hours of daylight in
the winter and no vegetation grows over three feet high. There is hardly any
life. Nearby Prudhoe Bay's pipeline has not had a destructive effect on caribou
(also called reindeer in Europe – the ones Santa Claus uses). In fact, the
herds have grown [.pdf] since the pipeline was completed.
- With slant drilling, the Department of the Interior estimates that 12,500
acres would be directly impacted by a web of roads, drill
pads, processing facilities, and an airport. For perspective, Dulles
Airport in Washington, D.C., used up 13,000 acres. The ANWR reserve contains
19 million acres; it's about the size of South Carolina. Its reserves are
estimated at a minimum 10 billion
barrels up to some 16 billion barrels. In today's world, even a billion-barrel
oil field is considered extraordinary. ANWR puts Alaska on a par with Saudi
Last year, I was in northern Russia at Vorkuta, the same latitude as ANWR.
I never saw such desolate land – it reminded me of the novel The
Land God Gave to Cain. This is not the picture of pretty Rockies or
abundant animal life shown by environmental extremists. It is some of the most
desolate, miserable land on the face of the earth. So let's drill it. It's well
past time for environmental extremists to get off America's back and stop fighting
a project to benefit all Americans.
Another major point: One reads how the new oil supply would not be a large
percentage of total American consumption, that it would only equal a year's
U.S. consumption. In fact, all the oil would not come out in one year, but rather
over 20 or 30 years. This ignores one of the most basic rules of economics –
that prices (and profits) are all determined by the marginal use. That means
that it is the last 10 percent of production or sales that controls the price
in the world market (OPEC and futures trading only affect short-term prices).
Even reducing U.S. imports by 10 percent would strongly affect world prices.
Add to this the new technology to exploit an abundance of natural gas methane
hydrates discovered under the U.S.
and Canadian permafrost and offshore, and we could supply our needs for
Animal life is very widely protected and abundant in Alaska. Even if it were
true that drilling ANWR would impact some Arctic animals, they have the whole
rest of the state. What about the rest of us? Continued wars for oil in the
Middle East will cost us incredibly in money and our own freedoms in an endless
battle to fight off terrorists seeking vengeance on Americans. There is an alternative.