posted on Aug, 8 2005 @ 09:23 AM
Many people thought that becuse the energy bill championed by president Bush and passed in congress last week did not contain a provision for the
opening of ANWR to oil well drilling that it was of the table for now. That was a wrong assumption. Proponents of opening the Alaska National Wildlife
Refuge, ANWR, are set to argue it before congress next month when the legislature resumes. Drilling advocates believe now is the time to make it
happen. They may be right. The drilling leases alone are expected to bring in more than $5 billion dollars. Other economic benefits include the major
boost in jobs that drilling in ANWR could bring, high paying jobs. Other concerns over oil importation and high fuel prices could finally end the
debate and open the refuge to drilling.
WASHINGTON - Conspicuous by its absence in the sweeping energy bill that President Bush has championed and will sign Monday is his top energy
priority: opening an Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling.
But the fight over the future of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will flare anew in Congress next month with drilling advocates saying they have
their best chance in more than two decades of making it happen.
Tapping what is believed to be at least 10 billion barrels of oil within the refuge's 1.5 million-acre coastal plain has been the centerpiece of
Bush's energy agenda dating back to his first presidential campaign in 2000. Bush has repeatedly said the oil is important to the nation's national
and economic security.
But the idea that drilling proponents might win has produced outrage among environmentalists, who see the region as a pristine refuge where caribou,
polar bears, migratory birds and other wildlife thrive and should be protected.
It's been a coalition of Democrats and
Republicans that have used the power of the Senate phillibuster to block this in the past. Now, it
seems, like environmental concerns may well lose out over concerns about high energy prices, oil availability, and domestic jobs. It will be
interesting to see if this gets much mainstream media attention and how it's covered if it does. Both sides of the debate make compelling arguements,
but will economics win out over the environment and wildlife after more than 20 years of fighting.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. Domestic oil is definately important, and ANWR could have more than 10 billion barrels. Finding evironmentally
safe alternative fuels is also important, so long as we keep opening new locations to find oil we are not pressured enough to find the alternative
methods. It's confusing if you really look at all the pro's and con's seriously. Balancing economic and national security issues with environmental
concerns is always a tricky thing, I guess it will be interesting to see what the lawmakers do.
Anyone else wanna weigh in? Let me know what you think.