Misguided grab for
National Wildlife Refuge may not be sacrificed in the name of national
security to give Americans less than two years’ supply of oil.
By a wide
margin last week, the U.S. Senate refused to open the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
majority, which included eight Republicans, recognized the move for what
it was—a move by cynical opportunists who saw a chance to use Americans
fears about turmoil in the Middle East to hand the oil industry a little
more black gold.
come a day when national security needs become so pressing as to require
the United States to open up this jewel of the Arctic to drilling. That
day will also require sacrifice on the part of drivers who currently show
no signs of ending their love affair with gas-eating sport utility
isn’t here yet.
estimate that the ANWR deposits could produce between 5.7 billion and 11.6
billion barrels of oil. That sounds like a lot until it’s compared to
the U.S. daily consumption of 19 million barrels a day—57% of which is
imported. Also, it would take about 10 years to bring the ANWR oil on line—too
late to ease present fears about oil supplies.
senators who supported drilling refused earlier this month to support
higher gas mileage requirements for automakers, something that could
permanently reduce America’s appetite for oil.
defied all logic.
drilling in the wildlife refuge would give the nation a little breathing
room, but no long-term energy security. Only conservation will do that.
little doubt the United States needs to find ways to become less dependent
on foreign oil, but drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge should
be looked to only as a last resort.