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Monday, March 14, 2005

Drilling ANWR

Gail Norton, Secretary of the Interior, has an op-ed in The New York Times about drilling for oil in the Artic Nation Wildlife Refuge:

Even though it is noon, the landscape is pitch black. The wind chill stands at 70 below zero. A lone man drives across a vast frozen plain on a road made of ice. He sits atop a large, bug-like machine with enormous wheels. He is heading for a spot on the tundra pinpointed by satellite imagery to explore for oil. When the spring thaw comes and the road melts, any evidence that a man or a machine ever crossed there will be gone. This is the world of Arctic energy exploration in the 21st century. It is as different from what oil exploration used to be as the compact supercomputers of today are different from the huge vacuum tube computers of the 1950s. Through the use of advanced technology, we have learned not only to get access to oil and gas reserves in Arctic environments but also to protect their ecosystems and wildlife. Technological advances in oil exploration are at the heart of a debate over America's energy future. Congress will soon decide whether to open up a sliver of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - called the 1002 area - to energy development. Opponents will pretend that new, less invasive technology doesn't exist. It is important for Americans to understand that it does, and that it works.
I am not positive that now is the right time to drill ANWR. This is not because of environmental concerns as I am convinced that we can drill for Oil there with minial ecological impact. The only question I have is it smarter to get that oil now, or to get it 10 years from now. I do think we need to fully explore the region and figure out how much is there right away though. This would involve exploratory drilling but not massive production.


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