ANWR & AMERICA'S ENERGY NEEDS
By Kit Bond
Let's set the stage, because the facts are getting lost in some wonderful rhetoric that takes me away in a dream world. I don't recognize the place I know as Alaska when I listen to this rhetoric. Those of us who support oil drilling in Alaska have tried to put out the facts. I have heard other things that are not quite so factual. Just as a beginning, over the next 20 years, U.S. oil consumption is projected to grow even after factoring in a projected 26-percent increase in renewable energy supply, which I strongly support, and a 29-percent increase in efficiency. Some think people that is outrageous. Some people have a terrible guilt trip that the U.S.A. uses so much oil we don't have enough, and so we ought to give up.
Drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) could almost double our oil reserves. The United States has about 22 billion barrels of proven reserves, three percent of the world's reserves. ANWR could hold 16 billion more barrels of oil. That is almost doubling. It is adding 16 to 22 billion barrels to our reserves. We use oil. There is no question about it. We have five percent of the world's population. We use 25 percent of the world's oil. But we also produce 31.5 percent of the world's total economic output. We are more efficient than the world as a whole, and we produce food and medicine and goods to improve the lives of Americans and of people around the globe. Let's be serious. When we are talking about the fact that we use oil, yes, we do. There is no question about it. We need to make sure we have adequate oil reserves.
Take a look at the estimates for oil that could be produced at ANWAR. And obviously, since it hasn't been drilled, we can only estimate. Opponents of drilling maintain that, if you can't prove the oil is there, then don't drill in ANWAR. They say that the effort to estimate oil there is all in vain. However, I believe the U.S. Geological Survey and the other scientific experts have a pretty good idea of the amount of petroleum that could be extracted from ANWR.
On the average, if you take into consideration the high and the low, according U.S. Geological Survey, there would be an increase of domestic production by about 14 percent. If you assume the high case, there could be an increase of 25 percent of domestic production. And when you have this kind of production, what does it mean for us? Opponents of oil drilling say that it is not much of an increase in our oil supply. Really? In Missouri, 71 years of oil consumption could be sustained by the increase in supply; in Connecticut, 132 years; in Minnesota, 85 years. To say that the increase in supply is not significant misses the picture very badly.
Without oil drilling in ANWR, what would be our dependence upon foreign oil? Well, without ANWR in 2020, the energy outlook is that 66.7 percent of our crude oil would come in from abroad. If you take the medium production case, ANSW drilling would drop that to 62.2 percent. That is a 5-percent or 4-percent reduction. If you take the high case, our dependence on foreign oil would go down to 58.7 percent, an 8-percent decline. Those percentages make a huge difference. They make the difference between whether we have a situation where we can manage it in tight consumption or whether we are up against the wall.
The 1.5-million-acre Coastal Plain, called the 1002 area, of the 19.6-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the best places to look for the oil that America needs. When large chunks of Alaska were set aside in 1980, they saved a small 1.5-million-acre Coastal Plain out of 19.6 million acres. Why did they save it?
Well, we have the letter of July 3, 1980, from U.S. Senators Mark O. Hatfield and Henry M. Jackson, the latter who, at the time, was Chairman of The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. They were right when they wrote this in 1980. They said:
"Ostrich-like approach." Those are the words of Senator Jackson. He said:
Senator Jackson concluded:
The U.S. Department of Energy said:
The 1002 area is not a beautiful piece of America. Congress set it aside for oil exploration. The environmentalists who talk about this area picture it as a magnificient forest. I don't think they have been there. When I go back home, I ask anybody: Have you been to the North Slope? Do you know what it looks like? They tell me: No. I kid my colleagues from Oklahoma that it as attractive as a frozen Oklahoma. Nobody I know has refused to drill for oil in Oklahoma because of its pristine beauty. I have been there. I have swatted away the mosquitos.
What does the 1002 area look like in Winter? Ask my good friend, the senior Senator from Alaska. He refers to the area as the proverbial Hades. It is quite a few degrees colder.
When I have been there in the middle of July, the temperature has gone up to 38 or 39 degrees, and there are those hardy souls who work out there in shirt sleeves, because a temperature of 39 degrees there is a heat wave.
One of the beauties of the 1002 area is it has caribou and wildlife and birds, and they thrive up there. Although the drilling does put permanent structures in the area, the temporary rock and gravel roads make a great place for caribou to calve. And the birds are there and the wildlife is there. All species are surving and thriving.
The environmentalists and their political allies in Congress and the Liberal Leftist establishment say that, with drilling for oil in the 1002 area, we are going to destroy this great swath, this beautiful natural reserve in Alaska. Are we talking about the same thing? We are talking about 2,000 acres, roughly three square miles, out of the Coastal Plain of 30,600 square miles. That is less than the size of Dulles Airport. It is three square miles out of 30,600 square miles. This was the area consciously set aside, on a bipartisan basis, because Senator Jackson and the other members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee then realized that this was where we were going to have to get our natural resources. What would happen if we drilled and found oil? It would mean 700,000 jobs would be created across the United States--not from a government make-work program, but from private investment. Wildlife habitat will be protected under the world's strictest environmental standards. To drill out there, you have to take all the equipment in, in the mid-Winter on ice roads, when it 100 to 200 degrees below zero. That is so cold that I cannot even think about it. But you do that so you don't disrupt the land.
The caribou herd in and near Prudhoe Bay's oilfield is five times larger than when development began. It is FIVE TIMES LARGER! Prudhoe Bay is producing 20 percent of our nation's oil supply. Now, let me say one other thing. As a result of my personal visit up there, I learned that the people who live in the region, the indigenous people, the Native Alaskans, understand that economic development due to oil drilling in the region will provide the means and opportunity for them to improve their lives. They can make a positive economic contribution to the welfare of this nation and benefit from it. They begged us to allow them to go ahead and develop a resource that will not interfere with their fishing and hunting and the wildlife around them.
I heard it said that it would be 10 years before we got any oil from the 1002 area. Well, it depends on how much Congress delays it, on how many lawsuits are initiated. Perhaps as soon as three years after the first lease sale. There has already been discovery on State-owned lands of an oilfiend that extends under the Coastal Plain. We know oil is there, just not how much. If the Congress were serious about it and we said we want to develop the 1002 area in an environmentally sound manner and do it quickly, we could get it online. Contrary to a myth that many on the other side of this issue have spread, and as my friends from Alaska pointed out, we are not exporting the North Slope oil to other countries. None has been exported since May, 2000. The average well at Prudhoe Bay produces over 550 barrels per day, more than 45 times the 12.5 barrels of oil produced per day by the average oil well in the United States. If the oil in ANWR is locked up, a lot of wells will have to be drilled to replace it, or we will be back in the situation in which we found ourselves two months ago.
By a very significant majority, 63 members of the U.S. Senate said we want to continue to be able to give American consumers the choice to drive SUVs, light pickup trucks, or vans. We ordered the U.S. Department of Transportation to use the best scientific and technological information available to push for increased petroleum efficiency and gasoline combustion efficiency--to do everything we can to increase fuel efficiency. But don't force unrealistic standards that merely require us to move down to smaller and smaller cars until we are driving around in golf carts. If we are going to continue to supply the energy needs that my colleagues who voted with us on the CAFE amendment said we are going to need, we need the oil coming from ANWR. This is absolutely essential for our economy--for the sound development and expansion of America's industrial and business enterprises and for supplying the transportation needs of America's families.
For each dollar of crude oil and natural gas brought to the market, there will be $2.25 of economic activity generated through the economy. The actual impact of the ANWR oil could be anywhere from $280 billion to $780 billion. These are all good economic arguments. But this is not the only question.
Keeping the oil production in the United States means we are buying less oil from overseas. We keep our domestic dollars at home. These are U.S.dollars not going to foreign countries--foreign countries with leaders who may be on a mission to destroy our entire existence.
If that was too subtle for some colleagues, let me explain it. Recently, we watched Iraq announce a month-long oil export embargo to protest Israel's response to the Palestinian Arab terror campaign. Some argue that Iraq produces only 1.5 billion barrels a day, roughly four percent of the world's production. We are told Saddam Hussein is only supplying eight percent of U.S. imports. It ought to be time that we tell the American people this country cannot and should not maintain that level of dependence on Iraqi oil.
Last year, we paid Saddam Hussein $6.5 billion. Does that sound like good policy? Do the American people really want to continue any efforts to benefit a tyrant such as Saddam Hussein, who continues his reckless oppression of his own people, while threatening the security of the world with the development of weapons of mass destruction?
Let me answer that question emphatically. The United States must not continue this type of dependence, resulting in billions of dollars going directly to one of this century's most demented and ruthless rulers. The time has come for the U.S.A. to enhance its own ability to produce oil so we don't have to depend on Hussein. I commend President George W. Bush for his actions in the Middle East, and I fully support him in the efforts to defend our national security. If it should occur one of these days in the near term that the President, hopefully in consultation with Coingress, deems it necessary, for the protection of pease and safety in the world as well as for our own security, that we take on Hussein and his tyrannical regime once again, we must not be held hostage by the fact that they are supplying us oil. Right now, the Iraqis have us over the oil barrel, despite the fact that we have oil reserves in the U.S.A. which we can develop to maintain our security.
Drilling for oil in Alaska is not just a good, sound option; it is a necessity. We must decrease our dependence on foreign oil every way we can. The Senate wisely adopted reasonable, scientifically based mandates to increase the efficiency of our automobile fuel usage. The CAFE provisions mandate an increase in standards that will help reduce our dependence on foreign petroleum. We provide incentives for alternative fuels such as electrical power, solar-powered vehicles, and use of biodiesal in bus fleets and school bus systems.
Yes, we must have renewables. Last month, the Senate voted in opposition to an amendment by my colleagues from California and New York that would have undermined the renewable fuels standards. I applaud my colleagues for opposing that effort, because renewable fuels standards are one important part of our energy policy. We need to make every effort to decrease our dependence on foreign sources of oil.
I urge my colleagues in the strongest possible way to support the efforts of the Senators from Alaska. I have been there. I have gone with them to visit this region. I have seen the oil exploration underway. I have seen the wildlife running on those plains.
When they finish, there will not be any signs of development, and it will still be a barren, mosquito-filled plain in the Summer, with its natural attributes. It will still be a hideously cold place in the Winter. And the wildlife, birds, and fish that thrive up there will continue to thrive. We are not destroying anything.
Even if they were going to burn and turn the 1002 area upside down, we are talking about 2,000 acres, just a little over three square miles out of 30,600 square miles. There is no way anybody can legitimately say we are going to destroy anything, because we are not destroying anything in the areas where oil drilling is currently in progress. The 1002 area is not a pristine wilderness that will not survive the drilling. We have shown how it can be done, and we are talking about only a thumbnail size out of the entire area.
Kit Bond is a Republican member of the United States Senate, representing the State of Missouri. Senator Bond serves as the rankling Republican on the Senate Small Business Committee and on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds federal agencies, policies, and programs dealing with America's housing and veterans' needs. He is a strong supporter of law enforcement and a strong and effective U.S. military.
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