My concern with ANWR:
The national security argument doesn't really wash - it's not enough oil at peak production to affect significant change. The estimated yield from that region equates to a six month supply of oil at the current rate of US consumption. Granted, we wouldn't use this all at once, and it would reduce the amount of mideast oil we import (currently 22% - our total foreign oil imports are over 60% with supplies from Mexico, Venezuela and Canada among the 'friendlies' that supply us).
However, we could reduce our reliance on foreign oil more effectively by adopting higher CAFE (CORPORATE AVERAGE FUEL ECONOMY) Standards for light trucks, currently at 20.5%. this does not mean that Ford et. al. cannot produce your big honkin' shuttle rig- they must simply adopt a range of vehicles that average out to an MPG that's more efficient across the board. The Big Three earned record profits thoughout the 90's due to SUV sales, and they certainly would like to protect that money tree. With gradually stepped up CAFE standards, they can still build the dually Powerstroke trucks, but if they include the 11.5 mpg soccer mom Expedition in their range of offerings, they won't meet the standards. And we're not talking a huge jump in efficiency here. To put this into perspective- a one mile-per-gallon increase over 6 years would save about five billion
gallons of fuel. Big Three will argue that this meets 'consumer preference', but that really comes down to the common good outweighing the petty wants of the relative few that can afford such vehicles. Common sense in my book- Buy a 4 cylinder mini-van, MaryAnn.
However, as long as the automakers line the pockets of Congress (and as long as the veto pen is wielded by an ex-failed-oilman), those standards aren't likely to be enacted anytime soon. There hasn't been an increase of those standards since 1985 (20 years!), and in that time our oil imports have risen from 40% to over 60%. Nice work, Congress. Campaign finance reform, anyone?
The other argument you hear is that the total land they want to drill on represents only 2000 acres in ANWR. That may be true, but it wouldn't be one 2000 acre parcel that gets affected- it would be more like forty or fifty smaller parcels spread out all over the Reserve. Lots of roads.
You'll hear that we'll gain revenues from oil and gas leases in ANWR. True- estimated at $1.2 billion. In other words, about what we send in a week in Iraq, 'protecting' the oil there. Fun fact: http://costofwar.com/
Other items of note, direct from the Department of Energy's assesment of ANWR in March of 2002:
Oil production in Alaska from outside
of the Arctic Refuge is projected to increase by 22% by 2020, from 900,000 barrels a day in 2002 to 1.1 million gallons per day.
· The amount of technically recoverable oil from areas of the U.S. outside the Arctic Refuge (136 billion barrels) is 17.7 times the amount of oil projected to be technically recoverable from within the refuge (7.7 billion barrels) .
· At peak production in 2020, oil from the Arctic Refuge would amount to only 800,000 barrels a day, "roughly seven-tenths of 1 percent of projected world oil production".
· The first drop of oil from the Arctic Refuge would not flow until 2011 if drilling is authorized in 2002.
No natural gas would be economically recoverable from the refuge by 2020.
It's just not necessary, folks. It's another government handout to oil exploration companies.