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Monday, August 29, 2005

Emergency Stockpile Not the Answer

Reuters reports today that Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY, has asked the Bush administration to open the U.S. emergency oil stockpile to help ease gasoline prices. According to the article, daily crude oil production from the Gulf Coast has been curtailed by 42 percent due to Hurricane Katrina.

OK, so dipping into the emergency stockpile might give consumers some short-term relief. The two key words are some and short-term. What we need is not a band-aid solution, but a real, long-term solution.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is a long-term solution. According to The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources, there are over 10 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil in ANWR, over twice the proven oil reserves in Texas and nearly half the total U.S. proven reserve. In short, ANWR represents a possible 45% increase in proven U.S. oil reserves.

So why aren't we utilizing this resource? The answer is that environmentalists' attempts at preventing development have thus far been successful. Environmentalists would have us believe that development in this area would destroy this home to caribou, polar bears, grizzlies, and other wildlife. They would also have us believe that the return for all this destruction would be negligible. The Defenders of Wildlife's Help Save The Arctic Wildlife Refuge website states that "It would be irresponsible to sacrifice this national treasure for a few months' supply of oil."

The fact is that ANWR, located in the northeast corner of Alaska, is over 19 million acres in size, approximately the same size as South Carolina. Development of the region would occur on less than 2000 acres, or .01% of the total ANWR acreage.

Much evidence exists that development would not destroy wildlife. In fact, arctic caribou herds in existing oil fields 80 miles west of ANWR have actually increased, from 3,000 to 32,000, since development began in the 1970’s.

And what about the "few months supply of oil"? The truth is that the 10 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil in ANWR would provide the United States with over 1 million barrels a day for over 30 years.

In the Reuters report, Senator Schumer is quoted as saying, "If there was ever a time for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to be tapped, it would be now." If this were September 10, 2001 and oil prices were $70/barrel, I might agree with the Senator. However, in a post 9-11 world, the emergency for which we might need to tap the emergency stockpile might be a future 9-11, perhaps multiplied several times over. We live in a world where a real emergency is not out of the question. In the meantime, the United States is being held hostage by foreign countries who choose to limit oil production to keep prices high. Even worse, we're being held hostage by environmentalists within our own borders who choose to limit oil production through misinformation and scare tactics.

It's time for the majority of Americans, who are tired of high fuel prices and who are tired of small groups of activists controlling Congress, to let our voices be heard. We do not have to be dependent on foreign oil; we need to stand up for America and finally take this important step toward energy independence.


Blogger Malott said...

Well stated as usual. I think it would be interesting to calculate and publish for consumers what the price of gas would be if we were currently tapping into ANWR. It might be politically devastating to Democrats and environmentalists who have blocked drilling in Alaska and along coastlines and such for so many years.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Pat Munsey said...

An interesting argument. Please refer to my response on the Kokomo Perspective blog.

Increasing supply only pushes the oil dependency problem into the future, so that our children and grandchildren are forced deal with the same problems we face today.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Peter W. Heck said...

I find your contempt for the Alaskan Hoot Owl and Yukon Caribou disturbing. (Please note the sarcasm)

12:23 PM  

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