Arctic drilling will not reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil
Proponents say that drilling in ANWR will reduce America's dependence on imported oil (a dependence that costs taxpayers billions of dollars to station our military in oil-rich regions such as the Middle East). But the earliest any ANWR oil would reach the lower 48 states would be 10 years, and probably longer, thereby having no impact on America's current problem. Even 20 years from now, when ANWR is expected to reach peak production, it will only supply about 3 percent of U.S. oil consumption at best.
Energy independence can be achieved through improved energy efficiency
An increase in automobile fuel efficiency standards of 3 miles per gallon would save more than 1 million barrels a day. If U.S. standards for replacement tires were upgraded to those for new cars, it would save 7 billion barrels -- same as the most optimistic estimate for ANWR oil.
·Arctic drilling will not reduce oil prices. Even at peak production, the output of oil from the refuge would be too small to affect prices. The U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration released a report last year stating that, "Assuming that world oil markets continue to work as they do today, the Organizations of Petroleum Exporting Countries could countermand any potential price impact of ANWR." According to the U.S. Geological Survey there are 3.2 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil in the coastal plain. This means that opening the Arctic Refuge to drilling would only increase global oil reserves by less than seven-tenths of one percent, meaning essentially no effect on world oil production and prices.
Not all ANWR oil is economically viable
Over 7 billion barrels of oil are technically recoverable (if money is not an issue) in the wildlife refuge. The amount that is economically viable is much lower. Another cost problem is transportation of crude oil to the lower 48 states. Western refineries will be at capacity when drilling commences in the refuge. The majority of other refineries are in Texas, meaning the oil would have to be shipped from Alaska down through the Panama Canal back up to Texas. Some experts suggest that this makes the oil more likely to be sold to Asia rather than the U.S.
Investment in renewable energy will provide more jobs
Studies by the Bureau of Labor statistics and the Congressional Research Service predict that 60,000 to 130,000 jobs would be created if the Refuge were opened for drilling. But the Tellus Institute recently reported that investment in renewable energy and improved energy efficiency would create 700,000 jobs by 2010, and 1.3 million by 2020. A World Wildlife study "America's Global Warming Solutions," states that if the proper energy policies were implemented, 900,000 jobs could be created over a 12-year period.
Environmental impact far greater than administration claims
The Bush Administration claims that new advances in technology will minimize the ecological impact of drilling, causing only a 2,000-acre "footprint." The "footprint" includes buildings, pipelines and other related facilities-- but only where they touch ground. In fact, pipelines will cover hundreds of miles of the Refuge, and only their support posts are counted toward the 2,000-acre total. Gravel mines and roads were not counted. There will be airstrips, housing, pumping stations, power plants, power lines, sewage treatment, and waste disposal needed to service the work crews.
The 2,000-acre "footprint" also overlooks seismic or other exploration activities, which degrade the arctic environment, with 64,000-pound exploratory rigs. They can only travel on ice roads, whose longevity has already been reduced by half due to global warming.
The U.S. Geological Survey reports that oil and gas deposits are spread throughout the wildlife refuge coastal plain in small pools and pockets, leaving the entire 1.5 million acre area open to leasing and exploration— not just a confined space of 2,000-acres.
All of this, of course, poses an unpredictable threat to the herd of 120,00 porcupine caribout who migrate, forage for food, and calve in the area.