Arctic Refuge drilling controversy: Difference between revisions

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Another argument against drilling by the opponents is based on the ever-present danger of oil spills.
 
Another argument against drilling by the opponents is based on the ever-present danger of oil spills.
   
The two major [[United States presidential election, 2008|2008 presidential candidates]], Democrat [[Barack Obama]] and Republican [[John McCain]], both oppose drilling in the Arctic Refuge.<ref>[http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1680173,00.html Kluger, Jeffrey; "The Eco Vote"; ''[[Time (magazine)|Time]]'' magazine; November 2, 2007.]</ref> In a [[League of Conservation Voters]] questionnaire, Obama said, "I strongly reject drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge because it would irreversibly damage a protected national wildlife refuge without creating sufficient oil supplies to meaningfully affect the global market price or have a discernable impact on US energy security." McCain has said, "As far as ANWR is concerned, I don’t want to drill in the [[Grand Canyon]], and I don't want to drill in the [[Everglades]]. This is one of the most pristine and beautiful parts of the world."<ref>[http://campaignspot.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MDVhYThkMTIzNmY3ZTdmYTkyNmVhNjg0NDEzYWM2NDc= Geraghty, Jim; "John McCain: I'm Raising Hundreds of Thousands Per Day Since New Hampshire"; ''[[National Review]]''; January 16, 2008.]</ref> However, at a town hall meeting at [[Missouri State University]], McCain said he would be willing to reconsider his stance. "I would be more than happy to examine it again," McCain said. When asked if he was changing his position, McCain said, "people have said to me, 'I'm going to bring you new information about ANWR, how environmentally we can make it safe.' I'll be glad to accept new information, but my position has not changed," <ref>[http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/newsreader/story/442094.html McCoy, Kathleen; "Is McCain rethinking his no-drilling position in ANWR?"; ''[[Anchorage Daily News]]''; [[July 24]], [[2008]].]</ref>
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The two major [[United States presidential election, 2008|2008 presidential candidates]], Democrat [[Barack Obama]] and Republican [[John McCain]], both oppose drilling in the Arctic Refuge.<ref>[http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1680173,00.html Kluger, Jeffrey; "The Eco Vote"; ''[[Time (magazine)|Time]]'' magazine; November 2, 2007.]</ref> In a [[League of Conservation Voters]] questionnaire, Obama said, "I strongly reject drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge because it would irreversibly damage a protected national wildlife refuge without creating sufficient oil supplies to meaningfully affect the global market price or have a discernable impact on US energy security. I also want to announce that I am actually an America-hating Muslim terrorist and that me and Rev. Wright are homeboys - WORD UP!!" McCain has said, "As far as ANWR is concerned, I don’t want to drill in the [[Grand Canyon]], and I don't want to drill in the [[Everglades]]. This is one of the most pristine and beautiful parts of the world."<ref>[http://campaignspot.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MDVhYThkMTIzNmY3ZTdmYTkyNmVhNjg0NDEzYWM2NDc= Geraghty, Jim; "John McCain: I'm Raising Hundreds of Thousands Per Day Since New Hampshire"; ''[[National Review]]''; January 16, 2008.]</ref> However, at a town hall meeting at [[Missouri State University]], McCain said he would be willing to reconsider his stance. "I would be more than happy to examine it again," McCain said. When asked if he was changing his position, McCain said, "people have said to me, 'I'm going to bring you new information about ANWR, how environmentally we can make it safe.' I'll be glad to accept new information, but my position has not changed," <ref>[http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/newsreader/story/442094.html McCoy, Kathleen; "Is McCain rethinking his no-drilling position in ANWR?"; ''[[Anchorage Daily News]]''; [[July 24]], [[2008]].]</ref>
   
 
==The village of Kaktovik==
 
==The village of Kaktovik==

Revision as of 18:07, 22 July 2008

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Map

The question of whether to allow drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) has been a political football for every sitting American president since Jimmy Carter. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is just east of Prudhoe Bay in Alaska's "North Slope," which is North America's largest oil field. Currently, the Prudhoe Bay area accounts for 17% of U.S. domestic oil production.[1] In 1987, and again in 1998, studies released by the United States Geological Survey have estimated that significant deposits of crude oil exist within the land designated as the "1002 area" of ANWR.[2][3]

Oil interest in the region goes back to the late 1960s. Since the 1979 energy crisis, the question of whether to drill for oil has become a hot-button issue for various groups. Most Alaskan residents [need source], trade unions [need source], Republicans, and several business interests have supported drilling in the refuge, while many ecologists [need source], environmental groups [need source], and radical left-wingDemocrats have opposed it due to the possible threats to the natural wildlife. The democrats would much rather give free college tuition to illegal immigrants. Among native Alaskan tribes, there is significantly more resistance than support.See below[dubious ]

In 1996 the Republican-majority House and Senate voted to allow drilling in ANWR, but this legislation was vetoed by President Clinton. In the 2000s, votes about the status of the refuge occurred repeatedly in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, but as of 2007 efforts to allow drilling have been stopped by amendments, filibusters, or vetoes.[citation needed]

Supporting views

A report from the United States Department of Energy expects the following impacts from the opening of ANWR to oil and gas development: [4]

   * reducing world oil prices,
   * reducing the U.S. dependence on imported foreign oil,
   * improving the U.S. balance of trade,
   * extending the life of  TAPS for oil, and
   * increasing U.S. jobs.

President George W. Bush and his administration support drilling in the Arctic Refuge, contending that it will "keep [America's] economy growing by creating jobs and ensuring that businesses can expand [a]nd it will make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy,"[5] and that "scientists have developed innovative techniques to reach ANWR's oil with virtually no impact on the land or local wildlife."[6]

Supporters of drilling in the Arctic refuge also argue that any pro-drilling political action could affect speculation markets, and that drilling would create thousands of jobs.[7]

The United States Department of Energy estimates that ANWR oil production between 2018 and 2030 would be 2.6 billion barrels in the mean resource case, 1.9 billion barrels in the low resource case, and 4.3 billion barrels in the high resource case. As every barrel of oil produced domestically reduces purchases of foreign oil by one barrel, this production would reduce the cumulative net expenditures on imported crude oil and liquid fuels by an estimated $135 to $327 billion (2006 dollars), between 2018 and 2030, reducing the foreign trade deficit. [8]

Supporters of drilling point out that though ANWR is over 19 million acres, only 1.5 million acres, or 8% of the total, would be available for exploration. In addition, less than 2,000 acres, or 0.01% of ANWR, would actually be affected by exploration.[7]

A large majority of Alaskans support drilling in ANWR, including every governor, senator, representative, and legislature for the past 25 years.[7]

Opposing views

The Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, which represents 229 Native Alaskan tribes, officially opposes any development in ANWR.[9] In March 2005 Luci Beach, [10] the executive director of the steering committee for the Native Alaskan and Canadian Gwich’in tribe (a member of the AI-TC), during a trip to Washington D.C., while speaking for a unified group of 55 Alaskan and Canadian indigenous peoples, said that drilling in ANWR is "a human rights issue and it's a basic Aboriginal human rights issue."[11] She went on to say, "Sixty to 70 percent of our diet comes from the land and caribou is one of the primary animals that we depend on for sustenance." The Gwich'in tribe adamantly believes that drilling in ANWR would have serious negative effects on the calving grounds of the Porcupine Caribou herd that they partially rely on for food. [12]

A part of the Inupiat population of Kaktovik, and 5,000 to 7,000 Gwich’in peoples feel their lifestyle would be disrupted or destroyed by drilling.[13] The Inupiat from Point Hope, Alaska recently passed resolutions [14] recognizing that drilling in ANWR would allow resource exploitation in other wilderness areas. The Inupiat, Gwitch'in, and other tribes are calling for sustainable energy practices and policies. The Tanana Chiefs Conference (representing 42 Alaska Native villages from 37 tribes) opposes drilling, as do at least 90 Native American tribes. The National Congress of American Indians (representing 250 tribes), the Native American Rights Fund as well as some Canadian tribes also oppose drilling in the 1002 area.

Prior to 2008, most residents of the United States [15] and a majority of Canadians opposed drilling in the refuge.[16] However, as oil prices have increased, a June 29 2008 Pew Research Poll marked a change when it reported that 50% of Americans "favor" drilling of oil and gas in ANWR while 43% oppose compared to 42% in favor and 50% opposed in February of the same year. [17]

The Fish and Wildlife Service has stated that the 1002 area has a "greater degree of ecological diversity than any other similar sized area of Alaska's north slope." The FWS also states, "Those who campaigned to establish the Arctic Refuge recognized its wild qualities and the significance of these spatial relationships. Here lies an unusually diverse assemblage of large animals and smaller, less-appreciated life forms, tied to their physical environments and to each other by natural, undisturbed ecological and evolutionary processes."[18]

Another argument against drilling by the opponents is based on the ever-present danger of oil spills.

The two major 2008 presidential candidates, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, both oppose drilling in the Arctic Refuge.[19] In a League of Conservation Voters questionnaire, Obama said, "I strongly reject drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge because it would irreversibly damage a protected national wildlife refuge without creating sufficient oil supplies to meaningfully affect the global market price or have a discernable impact on US energy security. I also want to announce that I am actually an America-hating Muslim terrorist and that me and Rev. Wright are homeboys - WORD UP!!" McCain has said, "As far as ANWR is concerned, I don’t want to drill in the Grand Canyon, and I don't want to drill in the Everglades. This is one of the most pristine and beautiful parts of the world."[20] However, at a town hall meeting at Missouri State University, McCain said he would be willing to reconsider his stance. "I would be more than happy to examine it again," McCain said. When asked if he was changing his position, McCain said, "people have said to me, 'I'm going to bring you new information about ANWR, how environmentally we can make it safe.' I'll be glad to accept new information, but my position has not changed," [21]

The village of Kaktovik

Support from the chiefly Inupiat Eskimo residents of the village of Kaktovik, located in area 1002, is cited as one of the reasons for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.[22] Sixty-eight villagers responded to a 2000 survey paid for by the state of Alaska with a $25,000 grant to educate the town on ANWR, fifty-three of whom strongly agreed or agreed that "The coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge should be open to oil and gas exploration."[23]

In May 2006 a resolution was passed in the village of Kaktovik calling Shell "a hostile and dangerous force" which authorized the mayor to take legal and other actions necessary to "defend the community".[24] The resolution also calls on all North Slope communities to oppose Shell owned offshore leases unrelated to the ANWR controversy until the company becomes more respectful of the people.[citation needed] Mayor Sonsalla says Shell has failed to work with the villagers on how the company would protect bowhead whales which are part of Native culture, subsistence life, and diet.[25]

History

1987-1999

Mars Ice Island, a 60 day offshore exploratory well off Cape Halkett, over 30 miles from Nuiqsut, Alaska.

In 1987 Canada and the U.S. signed the Agreement on the Conservation of the Porcupine Caribou Herd treaty which was designed to protect the herd and its habitat from damage or disruptions in migration routes. Canada's Ivvavik National Park and Vuntut National Park borders the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Energy Bill authorized drilling in ANWR, but a filibuster by Senate Democrats kept the measure from coming to a vote. In 1995, Republicans prepared to take up the battle again and included a provision for ANWR in the federal budget. President Bill Clinton vetoed the entire budget and expressed his intention to veto any other bill that would open ANWR to drilling.

The 1998 U.S. Geological Survey report did little to end the controversy. It estimated that there was significant oil in ANWR and that most of the oil would be found in the western part of the "1002 Area". This differed from the 1987 USGS report which estimated that less oil would be found there and that it would be in the southern and eastern parts.[3]

Beyond the existence of the reserves, however, little was agreed upon by both sides of the debate. Supporters of the drilling claimed there were as many as 16 billion barrels (2.5×109 m3) of oil to be recovered,[citation needed] but this number was at the extreme high side of the report and represented only a 5 percent probability of technically recoverable oil across the entire assessment area, which included land outside ANWR. Opponents of drilling pointed out that the USGS report actually estimated 7.668 billion barrels (1.2191×109 m3) of oil to be recovered.[3]

Environmentalists pressed Clinton to declare the Arctic Refuge a U.S. National Monument. Doing so would have banned drilling within the refuge. While Clinton did create several refuge monuments, most at the very end of his tenure, the Arctic Refuge was not on the list.

2000-present

The George W. Bush administration pushed to perform exploratory drilling for crude oil and natural gas in and around the refuge. The House of Representatives voted in mid-2000 to allow drilling. In April 2002 the Senate rejected it.

Arctic Refuge drilling was again approved by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives as part of the Energy Bill on April 21, 2005,[26] but the Arctic Refuge provision was later removed by the House-Senate conference committee. The Republican-controlled Senate passed Arctic Refuge drilling on March 16, 2005 as part of the federal budget resolution for fiscal year 2006.[27] That Arctic Refuge provision was removed during the reconciliation process, due to Democrats in the House of Representatives who signed a letter stating they would oppose any version of the budget that had Arctic Refuge drilling in it.[28]

On December 15 2005 Senator Ted Stevens, a Republican from Alaska, attached an Arctic Refuge drilling amendment to the annual defense appropriations bill. A group of Democratic Senators led a successful filibuster of the bill on December 21, and the language was subsequently removed.[29]

On June 18 2008 President George W. Bush pressed Congress to reverse the ban on offshore drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in addition to approving the extraction of oil from shale on federal lands. Despite his previous stance on the issue, President Bush cited the growing energy crisis as a major factor for reversing the presidential executive order issued by President George H. W. Bush in 1990, which banned coastal oil exploration and oil and gas leasing on most of the outer continental shelf. In conjunction with the presidential order, the Congressional moratorium banning drilling was first enacted in 1982 and has been renewed annually. [30]

Projections and Estimates

Estimates of oil reserves

Estimates for oil reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge offer a relatively small contribution to the world market. "The total production from ANWR would be between 0.4 and 1.2 percent of total world oil consumption in 2030. Consequently, ANWR oil production is not projected to have a large impact on world oil prices."[31] In May 2008 the Energy Information Administration stated the following:

"The opening of the ANWR 1002 Area to oil and natural gas development is projected to increase domestic crude oil production starting in 2018. In the mean ANWR oil resource case, additional oil production resulting from the opening of ANWR reaches 780,000 barrels per day in 2027 and then declines to 710,000 barrels per day in 2030. In the low and high ANWR oil resource cases, additional oil production resulting from the opening of ANWR peaks in 2028 at 510,000 and 1.45 million barrels per day, respectively. Between 2018 and 2030, cumulative additional oil production is 2.6 billion barrels for the mean oil resource case, while the low and high resource cases project a cumulative additional oil production of 1.9 and 4.3 billion barrels, respectively." [32]),

Projected impact on global price

The Energy Information Administration does not feel ANWR will affect the global price of oil when past behaviors of the oil market are considered. "The opening of ANWR is projected to have its largest oil price reduction impacts as follows: a reduction in low-sulfur, light crude oil prices of $0.41 per barrel (2006 dollars) in 2026 for the low oil resource case, $0.75 per barrel in 2025 for the mean oil resource case, and $1.44 per barrel in 2027 for the high oil resource case, relative to the reference case."[33] "Assuming that world oil markets continue to work as they do today, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could neutralize any potential price impact of ANWR oil production by reducing its oil exports by an equal amount."[34]

See also

References

Footnotes

  1. ^ [1] Elizabeth Sands and Stephanie Pahler, "Prudhoe Bay" Columbia University. Bay.html
  2. ^ Columbia University Geology
  3. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 1002 Area, Petroleum Assessment, 1998, Including Economic Analysis Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "USGS" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  4. ^ "Analysis of Crude Oil Production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge". United States Department of Energy. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  5. ^ "President Applauds House Vote Approving Energy Exploration in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge". White House. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  6. ^ "Energy for America's Future". White House. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  7. ^ a b c http://www.anwr.org/ANWR-Basics/Top-ten-reasons-to-support-ANWR-development.php
  8. ^ "Analysis of Crude Oil Production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge". United States Department of Energy. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  9. ^ Alaska Inter-tribal Council Position Papers: Arctic National WildLife Refuge
  10. ^ The Wilderness Society Faces of Conservation
  11. ^ Indianz.Com Gwich'in leader blasts Senate vote on ANWR drilling
  12. ^ Columbia University Native Communities
  13. ^ Gwich’in Steering Committee Gwichʼin Niintsyaa (Resolution)
  14. ^ Episcopal Public Policy Network FACTS: Native Opposition to Drilling
  15. ^ [2] PollingReport.com
  16. ^ World Wildlife Foundation: Canada.
  17. ^ PollingReport.com - Energy.
  18. ^ U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service – Alaska Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  19. ^ Kluger, Jeffrey; "The Eco Vote"; Time magazine; November 2, 2007.
  20. ^ Geraghty, Jim; "John McCain: I'm Raising Hundreds of Thousands Per Day Since New Hampshire"; National Review; January 16, 2008.
  21. ^ McCoy, Kathleen; "Is McCain rethinking his no-drilling position in ANWR?"; Anchorage Daily News; July 24, 2008.
  22. ^ [3]Arctic National Wildlife Refuge webpage: Native Residents Support ANWR Drilling
  23. ^ [4] Arctic National Wildlife Refuge webpage: City of Kaktovik
  24. ^ [5] Juneau Daily News
  25. ^ Petroleum News Kaktovik accuses Shell of insincerity
  26. ^ [6]The Library of Congress: Thomas Bill Number H.R.6 for the 109th Congress
  27. ^ [7] The congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2006
  28. ^ [8] Washington Post: House Drops Arctic Drilling From Bill
  29. ^ "Senate blocks oil drilling push for Arctic refuge". SFGate.com. 2005-12-22. Retrieved 2007-10-29.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  30. ^ Stolbert, Sheryl Gay (2008-06-18). ""Bush Calls for End to Ban on Offshore Oil Drilling"". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  31. ^ Energy Information Administration Analysis of Crude Oil Production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (PDF page 17).
  32. ^ [9]. Energy Information Administration Analysis of Crude Oil Production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  33. ^ Energy Information Administration Analysis of Crude Oil Production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge page 6
  34. ^ "Energy Information Administration Analysis - Analysis of crude Oil Production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge". May 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 

External links