Skip to comments.ANWR: Setting the record straight
Posted on 03/17/2002 8:44:24 PM PST by Brad C.
ANWR: Setting the record straight
By KARA GITTINGS MORIARTY
The United States Senate is debating one of the most important issues of the year, passage of a national energy policy, which will affect all Americans.
Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., has introduced his own energy bill (S. 1766), after the House passed HR 4 in August 2001. It is not uncommon for the Majority Leader of the Senate to introduce something different than what passed the House, but it is uncommon for him to bypass the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Instead of letting the committee process work, he is bringing it straight to the Senate floor for full debate. Why is that?
I think it has something to do with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. A majority of senators currently support ANWR, but due to a procedural move, it could take 60 votes to open the Coastal Plain of ANWR.
I was born and raised on a ranch in South Dakota and have lived in Alaska for almost five years, including one on the North Slope. I have grown increasingly frustrated at misinformation that is shared about ANWR. Let's set the record straight on what is most commonly heard in the Lower 48:
Why ruin a pristine refuge? ANWR contains over 19.6 million acres. The coastal plain of ANWR, 1.5 million acres of the 19.6 million, was set aside for evaluation of its oil exploration/potential. HR 4, which passed the House, limited development to 2,000 acres of the 1.5 million in the coastal plain. My dad's small ranch in South Dakota was 2,700 acres, more than to be developed in ANWR.
ANWR only contains six months supply of the nation's energy needs. A 1998 U.S. Geological Survey study indicated ANWR contains at least 10.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil. People who use the six-month argument assume: 1) ANWR would be the only source of energy for daily U.S. consumption, and 2) all 10.4 billion barrels could be extracted at once. This is not possible.
The existing trans-Alaska oil pipeline would be used to transport oil from ANWR, and has a maximum capacity of 2 million barrels per day. Today, just under a million barrels of oil are transported from current oil fields. It is only feasible to ship 1 million barrels a day from ANWR. Ten billion barrels, divided by 1 million, means the resource could produce oil for over 25 years--not six months!
It would take a decade to get oil out of ANWR. Depending on where oil is discovered on the coastal plain of ANWR, it would only take 35-40 miles of pipeline to reach the Prudhoe Bay infrastructure. Because we build ice roads and pads in the winter to protect the environment, oil could be developed in two to three years on private lands.
Now that the record is straight on some of the myths, let's talk about the benefits of ANWR development for all Americans. Will ANWR eliminate the need for foreign sources of oil? No, but it is the best option available in the United States to start decreasing the current usage of foreign oil, which consists of 57 percent of America's needs. That means today 60 percent of every gallon of fuel you feed into your pickups, cars, and tractors, is produced outside the United States. Could you imagine 6/10 of each gallon of milk you drink coming from foreign cows?
Want an economic stimulus package? ANWR is the package. ANWR would not cost the federal government one cent to develop, and since ANWR is on federal and state land, the federal government would receive up to $1 billion in lease revenue alone! Plus, in 1991, the Wharton Econometrics Forecasting Associates predicted ANWR could produce over 700,000 private sector jobs. Had President Clinton signed the bill to drill in ANWR in 1995, instead of vetoing it, the federal government might not have a deficit today and more people would be at work.
I urge you to contact your friends and family in the Lower 48 and ask them to do three things: 1) Contact their senators and tell them developing a small portion of ANWR is the right thing to do. 2) Urge Sen. Daschle to take the politics out a national energy policy, and 3) Go to www.anwr.org for more facts about this national issue.
Kara Gittings Moriarty is president of the Greater Fairbanks Area Chamber of Commerce.
By DIANA CAMPBELL, Staff Writer
Leaders of a Whitehorse-based Native group said Tuesday they will support an Alaska/Canada natural gas pipeline as long as their group has a say in business and government decision-making.
Kwanlin Dun First Nation leaders say they will delay the project in Canadian courts if they are ignored.
The Yukon Territory First Nation owns about 90 miles of the 3,600-mile southern route of the proposed Alaska/Canada natural gas pipeline.
"Our people have been left out of decisions that have affected us deeply, such as the Klondike Gold Rush and the Alaska Highway," said Rick O'Brien, chief of the Kwanlin Dun.
Canadian First Nations are the equivalent of Alaska Native and Native American tribes. About six First Nations, including the Kwanlin Dun, own land along the Alaska Highway on which a proposed gas pipeline could be built.
BP, Exxon Mobil and Phillips Alaska, the three major producers of North Slope gas, are also considering an "over-the-top" route that would include an undersea pipeline to the MacKenzie River Valley in Canada's Northwest Territories.
The Kwanlin Dun have been left out of pipeline discussions, said Judy Gingell, a former commissioner of the Yukon who is now the president and CEO of Kwanlin Development Corp.
"We have been largely kept in the dark by the industry and other governments," Gingell said.
Canadian courts are clear in saying that First Nations should be included in the planning of projects that would affect lands and people, O'Brien said. Also, the courts authorize giving First Nations money to bear the cost of participation, he said.
"The bottom line is we support a natural gas project and only if real issues are addressed," he said.
The Kwanlin Dun want at least $38 million in U.S. dollars from the Canadian government so the group can participate in discussions, hire consultants and conduct research, O'Brien said.
The group also wants the Canadian government to immediately choose a unified Canadian permit process, said Trevor Harding, Kwanlin Dun pipeline consultant.
The Kwanlin Dun want to have access to the natural gas in Whitehorse and form power generation partnerships, Harding said. They also want to discuss with the Canadian governments and the producers how to mitigate social impacts brought by large groups of pipeline workers.
"The influx of workers will put hunting pressure on the game," he said. "There is a potential for a lot of alcohol and drug use. Traditionally these people live a pretty fast life."
The Canadian government will also have to deal with increased demands on its education and health-care system, he said.
BP spokesman Ronnie Chappell said the company has spoken with the group and will continue to do so. "Our goal is to have a project that is supported by Native groups, in Alaska and Canada, and by all the governments involved."
Chappell said that the pipeline project, with a $15 billion to $20 billion price tag, has not been approved by company investors.
"We do not have an economic project yet," he said. "Our work focus is shifting now to the task of developing a rational framework in which permitting can occur."
BP wants a clear state fiscal policy, he said. In the U.S. Congress, legislation is moving that would allow the producers a tax credit should gas prices fall below $1.25 per million British thermal units.
Phillips Alaska spokeswoman Dawn Patience had no comment about the Kwanlin Dun demands.
The First Nation is settling land claims, expected to be complete by March 31.
The Kwanlin Dun want to meet with Gov. Tony Knowles to offer their help in getting the pipeline built, Harding said.
Bob King, Knowles' spokesman, said he hasn't heard from the Kwanlin Dun but that the Kaska, a Yukon Territory/British Columbia First Nation, have requested a meeting with Knowles. The governor, who is in Germany on an Alaska trade mission, hasn't agreed to meet with them, King said. It is unclear what role Alaska would have with the First Nations.
"At this point nothing has been decided," he said.
From your post, it sounds like you are not from Alaska, as I am, and also not familiar with drilling practices and procedures. With the newer technologies and directional drilling, a "pocket" of oil can be reached and tapped more than a mile away from where the actual drilling rig is actually located. Hence the pipe connecting the majority of those pockets will be under ground bringing the oil to the surface at a well head. From this well head surface pipe will have to be constructed to route the oil to the main pipe line. This of course will require some land, which I am sure is included in the 2,000 acres mentioned. The local widlife seems to appreciate these pipes, as there are many pictures out of them huddling close by for the warmth they bring into a very harsh, bitter environment.
As for the unmarked pristine environment, didn't the article provide you with an idea of just how little land we are planning on using for this project? The area set aside for ANWR is already larger than a number of states in the lower 48, and it is but a small part of what we call "The Great Land." Alaska is 1/5 the size of the entire United States, with more coast line than any other state, more natural resources than any other and most of us are willing to develop it al to help you and us.
Following your arguement about just how little oil ANWR will contribute, I guess it would only make sense to actually close down the existing pipe. After all, it only provides about 10% of the national need and surely we could engineer those kinds of savings into our all but nonexsistant energy policy. Closing down the pipeline would also eliminate ignorate, drunken fools from taking shots at it and spilling some 275,000 gallons of oil in my backyard. Then again, there will always be idiots doing stupid things and when you stop to think about it, almost any public facility or resource is vunerable.
On a little note, tourism is a major industry here in Alaska and they are encouraging us to invite every one up to visit the state this year. SO come on up, bring your family and go out to visit that last pristine location on the face of the earth. Plan on staying awhile, as there are no services available in the area. You might be able to fly into Katovick, and figure on a 4-5 day hike into the area. Bring lots of bug dope because the mosquitos will almost darken the sun as they swarm around your family. Please remember to leave nothing but footprints on your way out, it needs to be kept just as pristine for the next visitor.
In short, do the things a government should do instead of looking for handouts from others.
I also appreciate your politeness, it is a thing lacking in some of the discussions around here. Although I think we will have to agree to disagree on this subject, I will say that I believe both sides inflate the "facts" they have on hand to distort the picture. For instance, there is no way that all of those jobs will be created, yet any increase would be welcome. I believe you can find similar issues from your side.
Take care, come on back up and see some more!
You have about as much time in Free Republic as you have in Alaska. I suggest you get educated about Alaska,Before you try to tell ALASKANS how to run their state. I will abstain from telling you how I feel, till you go do some intelligent reading on the matter.
America and Alaska BOTH need ANWR drilled! It's economical, environmentally safe, and a requirement for national security. Wonder when the Chinese hired Dashole....bout the same time they hired Hill and Bill??? Quick education for those not familiar with Alaska - seeings I was born in the territory of Alaska and have over 40 years there.
Alaska was purchased from the Russians in 1876. Other than a couple of gold rushes and furring, not much changed the place.
First oil exploration was by Cordova, and the Kenai Penninsula between the 1930's and 50's.
World war II saw Japanese land, and ocuppy Shemya and Attu. Canada and U.S.A. built the Alcan highway to Alaska - basically overnight (no idiotic environazi's in those days)This also made Alaska accessable for the first time to the rest of the world.
Alaska slowly grew as a Military outpost for the most part and mining and furring was still good. In 1959 Alaska became a state.
In 1969(this is from memory so it may not be exact) Arco drilled discovery well #1. The beginning of the biggest oil boom in modern day. A pipeline was built for 8 billion dollars between 1974 and 1977(that's 3 years total). and the rest(including well over 13 billion barrels of oil to date) is history.
With government, over time(50 years) the government was supposed to divvy up the country, in regard to properties and ownerships, and Alaska's contract with America called for 90% of all revenue to go to Alaska - Not the FED. Today as you read this, over 86% of the land is held by the Fed's. There is more private ownership of property in Russia than in Alaska!
In 1986, thanks to an everexpanding environazi movement, we lost our 250 claims to an expansion of a park(WITHOUT REDRESS!)to the government. The property is now offically a U.N. biospere. This could be a great opportuity for private enterprise (and citizens) to help gain back some of it's losses (land-wise in other activities in the state) because of the green machine. With over 7 years in the oilpatch industry in Alaska, let's be among the many screaming to....
Your demand that I get educated on this issue is too late. I've already done extensive research on the facts of this issue. Maybe it is you who needs to do some reading. One suggestion I have for you is Amory Lovins Fools Gold. Lovins is a well-known and respected numbers cruncher who concludes, based only on the factual numbers of this issue, that drilling in ANWR does not make economic sense.
After reading that you are welcome to make suggestions of what you think I should read. And if you have any specific points you'd like to discuss I'm all for it. My goal is for everyone to reach a conclusion based on facts and logic, not emotion.
Please define "pristine". Does it mean something different than "godforsaken frozen tundra"?
On that note, what exactly is so inviolable about an "ecosystem" that it must remain absolutely "undisturbed", to the point that humans cannot even "risk" spilling oil, let alone cut roads into it? Can you explain? For one thing: aren't humans part of the ecosystem? If we "stay out", aren't we artificially warping the ecosystem?
What is the intrinsic value of this "undistubed ecosystem" that requires that humans stay off of it? I would really like a sincere, honest rational answer that is not dependent on quasi-animistic-religious beliefs about land, rocks, or critters being sacred.
I suggest this because I went to check yours out, and nothing there yet...I'm sure it'll be good when you get around to it. If you go to mine, you'll discover I have actual time involved at close order with the subject of North Slope Oil and Development. I will take a peak at the book you suggest, but serious doubt this guy is going to influence my mind set in regard to reality of the issue.
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