Wednesday, December 21, 2005

ANWR Stalled

So, the Senate has blocked the House measure to allow private drilling in the federally protected Alaskan ANWR desert - which very parcel of tundra, I might add, was originally set aside by the Feds (under President Carter) in 1980 for oil exploration. This issue has become far too political, and thus, at the risk of redundancy, irrational. George Will recently penned a dandy piece in which he opines that the contemporary environmental movement (of which the ANWR-junkies are front and center) is little more than a gang of neo-Marxist collectivists who direct their energies toward exploiting the earth-first tendencies of the easily-influenced among us to further their agenda:
[O]ne of the collectivists' tactics is to produce scarcities, particularly of what makes modern society modern — the energy requisite for social dynamism and individual autonomy. Hence collectivists use environmentalism to advance a collectivizing energy policy. Focusing on one energy source at a time, they stress the environmental hazards of finding, developing, transporting, manufacturing or using oil, natural gas, coal or nuclear power.
A quarter of a century of this tactic applied to ANWR is about 24 years too many. If geologists were to decide that there were only three thimbles of oil beneath area 1002, there would still be something to be said for going down to get them, just to prove that this nation cannot be forever paralyzed by people wielding environmentalism as a cover for collectivism.
Here are some other quick ANWR facts from Neal Boortz:

Caribou? They don't care. The population of the Central Artic caribou herd near the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay has grown an average of 8.5% per year. The oil exploration operations don't bother them a bit.

Take the highest estimate of oil reserves from ANWR, then take the lowest. Use those numbers to come up with a mean estimate of ANWR oil potential. That figure is 10.4 billion barrels of oil. That much oil could meet the total petroleum consumption needs of the state of New York for 34 years; Georgia for 54 years, Maine for 259 years, Pennsylvania for 39 years. That is not an insignificant amount of oil.

If the most optimistic estimates of oil reserves in ANWR turn out to be true, it would be enough to replace 30 years of oil imports from Saudi Arabia. That is not an insignificant amount of oil.Will oil production from ANWR exceed estimates? Who knows? The estimates for Prudhoe Bay were around eight billion barrels of oil. So far we've extracted 14 billion barrels .. and we're not near through.

I say we take the politics out of it and put the whole thing on the real estate market. If Exxon wants to set up a rig, then let them pay for it. Or if the Sierra Club wants to maintain the place in its current condition as an arctic wasteland for its members to never visit, then ante up. Nifty, huh? It's called private property - what an idea. In fact, I think the feds should sell every piece of land they own (read in, "occupy"). Just imagine what they could bring in for this place...?