December 19, 2005
Dirty Budget Tricks - ANWR
By: Rowan Wolf
The bill allowing drilling in ANWR was attached to the Defense Budget. It was a deal sweetened by promises and placement. Legislators could not vote for the Defense Budget without voting for opening ANWR, however it was dirtier than that.
Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) added a deal for a cut of the ANWR revenues (vapor wear at this point) to go to the five states impacted by Hurricane Katrina.
"The five hurricane-affected states could also be big winners in the long run, gaining 20 percent of all royalties from drilling starting in the year 2015. Louisiana would get 50 percent of the revenue, Mississippi would get 25 percent, Alabama and Texas would each get 10 percent, and Florida would get 5 percent." SF Gate
Stevens also argued,"The levees will be paid for when we drill in ANWR". This sounds ominously like the Iraq war will be cheap because Iraqi oil will pay for the reconstruction. Even if this is true, those revenues are more than ten years down the pike, and that is lots of time for this little deal to be morphed a hundred times.
As is pointed out by Josef Herbert in an AP article, at peak pumping there is only expected to be 1 million barrels a day, and that peak will only last 3 to 5 years. The oil pumped would not make it to the East Coast, and perhaps not even to the United States, as there is a strong likelihood that it would go to lucrative Asian markets instead.
ANWR is pushed as the panacea for reducing U.S. dependence on "foreign" oil. However, the oil in ANWR will not belong to the United States. It will belong to the companies drilling the oil. We don't get to vote on where that oil goes, nor how much it costs. Meanwhile, no one apparently knows how much reserve might be there, nor whether it is worth extracting.
The fight to protect ANWR has gone on for roughly 25 years. It is too critical a justice and environmental struggle to just let this slide. I truly don't care what kinds of promises of aid to the Gulf state are included in the deal. The proposed horse trading is on horses not even conceived, and for sacrificing the reserve which we do know the value of. This is not to mention, that even if they do pump the oil, the whole thing will likely sink into the melting permafrost. The argument has been that oil is now expensive enough (at over $50 a barrel) to make drilling in ANWR lucrative. That means that ANWR is not going to reduce the cost of oil. With the rate of warming happening in the North, the costs moving that oil anywhere are also going to go up dramatically. How high would oil have to go to continue to make it lucrative to drill? $100, $200, $300 a barrel? And at that price, which translates to well over $10 a gallon for gasoline, how many people will be buying it?
This is a boondoggle - a very expensive, irretrievably destructive, boondoggle.
Posted by Rowan at December 19, 2005 8:29 AM Category: Peak Oil
This administration represents the quintessential "back-door" mentality. If they can't gain access by ringing the bell, they try all the windows or sneak around back. It really makes me sick.
Wasn't it just a couple of months ago that all of us called our senators and wrote our letters to prevent drilling in Alaska? There is no concern for wishes of the public here, just a desperate attempt for financial recovery from the disaster that has been the Bush administration spending.
Posted by: Pamela at December 19, 2005 11:20 AM