By Ghost of John Brown
The internet is a wondrous thing. Perhaps the most wonderful thing about the internet is that it magically preserves the words of idiots so we can use those words against them years later. Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of the Senate’s vote to deny oil production in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve (ANWR). At the time, liberal Senate Democrats were downplaying the ability of ANWR to help with our energy needs. Maria Cantwell D-WA said:
"I believe there is no way to justify drilling in ANWR in the name of national security. Oil extracted from the wildlife refuge would not reach refineries for 7 to 10 years and would never satisfy more than 2 percent of our Nation's oil demands at any one time."
Guess what, Senator - it's 10 years later. BTW, the 2% figure is a lie too, but that's expected with Democrats.
Before we get into some other issues, let's talk for a minute about ANWR and it's history.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as it exists today was created by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) in 1980. Most of the land in ANWR was set aside for preservation except for about 8% on the Coastal Plain, which was designated in Section 1002. It's this small area which is the source of all of the controversy today, although there really shouldn't be any controversy at all.
The SPECIFIC reason why the Section 1002 land was set aside was that it was believed that this area held vast oil reserves, which have been proven to be true. Congress specifically mandated that the area should be examined for oil production potential. Sadly, the research into ANWR's oil potential has been somewhat rudimentary compared to modern exploration techniques.
Even with the lack of detailed research, it is estimated that ANWR could have a recoverable supply of oil of 6-16 billion barrels of oil with a mean of 10 billion barrels. This is based on a fairly conservative recovery rate of 37%. The adjacent Prudhoe Bay field has a recovery rate of 60%. If the recovery rate is closer to Prudhoe Bay's, then we are looking at 18 billion barrels of oil. To put that in perspective, the United States uses approximately 6.6 billion barrels of oil per year.
What is ANWR Like?
The environmentalists would like you to believe that ANWR is synonymous with the legendary Shangri-La. The truth is just a weee bit different. Go to Heritage - click here, for some photos. Below are a couple of them.
The environmentalists would like you to think that the wildlife would be really upset about the intrusion into their little paradise. Well, as you can see below, not so much.
So, we haven't drilled in ANWR
The Democrats were telling us 10 years ago that drilling in ANWR would do nothing for gas prices in the near term. Funny how the pages of the calendar just keep turning, huh?
Now it's 10 years later, so what has happened?
The week that the Senate Democrats were deciding that we didn't need to drill in ANWR the average price of gasoline in the United States was $1.37/gallon (if you want to see the exact prices, you'll have to download the "full history" Excel file that is linked on the page). Below is a chart showing gas prices for the last 10 years
Crude oil prices have risen more dramatically. According to the information contained in this website, the price of crude oil has risen almost 400% since the Democrats decided we didn't need to drill in ANWR.
Tomorrow we will continue the discussion about ANWR and specifically talk about how it could benefit the United States.
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