Submitted by Michael Moynihan on Thu, 06/19/2008 - 8:44am.
Of the various false solutions being proposed to the current oil shockperhaps none is more disingenous than the idea that it can be solved bydrilling in the Alaskan wilderness and along the continental shelf.This is the idea that the right wing media, recently, John McCain andnow President Bush have been pushing as a cureall for soaring oilprices. Since many Democrats oppose this drilling, the next false stepof logic is to say Democrats are to blame. This was the thrust ofPresident Bush's energy proposal yesterday, one that only highlightsthe intellectual dishonesty and partisanship of this failedAdministration.
Is more drilling the answer? No for three reasons.
First, the amount of potential oil in the Arctic National WildlifeRefuge or ANWR is simply not enough to make a dent in global worldconsumption. The entire estimated reserves of ANWR are estimated toequal current US consumption in one year. The mere increase in China'sconsumption in the next few years will exceed the entire Alaskanreserves. Since the reserves would be harvested over decades, thequantity of oil they would produce each year would amount at most to afew drops in the global oil bucket.
Second, oil exploration and drilling takes years. Even ifexploration began tomorrow, we would probably not see significantquantities of oil from Alaska or offshore for close to a decade.
Third, the oil companies already have millions of acres allocated tothem that they have not gotten around to exploring let alone drillingin. When asked the delicate question, as some have been recently, whythey have not explored these millions of acres to which the federalgovernment has granted them rights, oil companies typically respondthat the public should understand that oil exploration takes time.
There may be some opportunities for targeted, ecologicallysensistive drilling off of America's shores that would make economicsense. But more drilling will not address either the current oil shockshock or the long term situation. And of course, it will worsen, notmitigate the climate.