Yesterday, in a White House press briefing, Dana Perino announced
“in an effort to address the root causes of high energy prices, House Republicans are introducing their American Energy Act. Their proposal includes many of the provisions the President called on Congress to act upon, including opening up access to our energy resources in the Outer Continental Shelf, up in ANWR, allowing development of oil shale resources, and streamlining permitting processes for refineries.”The question of whether to allow drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) has been an issue faced by every sitting American president since Jimmy Carter. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is just east of Prudhoe Bay in Alaska's "North Slope," which is North America's largest oil field. Not surprisingly, McCain and Obama hold different views on drilling in ANWR:
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has made drilling a major part of his energy plan.How does drilling in ANWR or offshore contribute to lower fuel prices? Art McEldowney has been looking at this issue and reports that there is no apparent connection between what the oil companies are saying and doing and the current “drill it now mantra.” Art offers five good reasons for skepticism.
Democratic rival Barack Obama remains opposed. A spokesman for him, Bill Burton, said Monday that drilling “would merely prolong the failed energy policies we have seen from Washington for 30 years.”
1. The American Petroleum Institute (API), a consortium of American petroleum-producing companies states that drilling on the continental shelf or ANWR is unlikely to provide Americans with more oil for 7 to 10 years.So, Art wonders, how does drilling offshore or ANWR now solve our fuel problem and lower gas prices? Answer: It doesn’t. Besides being an enormous environmental risk, pushing for drilling there simply distracts us from the opportunity now at hand.
2. If they were given permission to drill and they did drill, the anticipated amount of oil would alleviate 2.5 years of U.S. fuel needs 10 years down the road. Then what?
3. Major oil companies already own drilling rights to 68 million acres of Federal land, but refuse to drill. Why?
4. The United States exported 1.6 million barrels of refined fuel products per day in the first 4 months of 2008. Exports continue. If we are facing a fuel shortage, why are we exporting it? Fuel refining facilities are not being upgraded or expanded.
5. There are no immediately available pipelines or ships to move additional crude oil. If crude oil supplies were to become available we could not move it or refine it.
We have an opportunity to truly get off of oil and reinvent our economy with clean renewables that will end our addiction, clean up our skies, create jobs and solve global warming.This is the task before us: a) Now, urge Congress not to fall for the siren call of the Republican’s American Energy Act. b) In November, vote for a presidential candidate who will stop riding the dead horse of drilling in ANWR and who sees beyond the failed energy policies of the past. c) Vote for congressional candidates who will resist the pressures of Big Oil. d) With a new President, Congress and leadership in the states be advocates for energy policies that lead to the end our addiction to oil.