Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Showdown at the A.N.W.A.R. Corral

Why is this such a big deal to Republicans? I really just don't get it. Opening up ANWAR won't drop the cost of a gallon of gas. It will only supply 1-1.5% of our national consumption. The only people it will benefit are the oil companies. It is not like it is going to create thousands of desirable jobs - who wants to work there? Why is this such a big freak'n deal to them? Why doesn't Congress spend their time on trying to reduce our oil dependence instead? That is the real issue.

Yes, maybe someday, we will have to open it up for what ever reason, but lets wait until then. It is always good to have something in reserve.

Senate GOP Ready to Push Artic Oil Measure

By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The first big environmental showdown of the new Congress is expected to come within weeks as the Senate plans to use a budget measure to try to open an Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil development, hoping to sidestep strong Democratic opposition.

Republican leaders have been stymied for years in their effort to allow oil development on a 1.5 million-acre coastal strip of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge because they have been unable to muster the 60 votes needed to overcome a Democratic-led filibuster.

But a maneuver to avoid the filibuster is likely to come to a head in the next three weeks. The House has repeatedly passed measures to allow drilling in ANWR, as the refuge is called, only to see the legislation stalled in the Senate.

Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg, R-N.H. said Tuesday it was reasonable to assume ANWR would be part of the budget measure. "The president asked for it, and we're trying to do what the president asked for," Gregg said after meeting privately with Republicans on his panel.

Sen. Pete Domenici (news, bio, voting record), R-N.M., chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and a strong supporter of refuge oil development, said he was "very optimistic we're going to get the ANWR provision in this budget."

Gregg's panel was expected to begin work on the budget language next week. Senate floor action — including a vote on the ANWR provision — was likely before the congressional Easter recess March 19.

Given the wider majority of 55 Republicans against 44 Democrats and one Independent, Republicans leaders believe they have the best chance yet to gather the 51 votes needed to include ANWR in the budget language, which is not subject to filibuster.

That would be a stinging defeat for environmentalists who consider protecting the refuge as their most important challenge in Congress. Environmentalists have stepped up their lobbying, hoping to convince lawmakers that drilling in the refuge would harm the area's breeding grounds for caribou, as well as polar bears, musk oxen and millions of migratory birds that camp on the refuge's tundra.

(Full Story)


Anonymous said...

One quibble with the jobs #. ANWAR is expected to provide 100,000 jobs if exploration is allowed. 70,000 of them would be union, high wage/benefit. Lots of folks would take the jobs as they are in the 100k/year range. Regards.

Chris P/M

Dingo said...

That's not the information that was relayed to me. I was at a conference a couple of years ago where a spokes person from BP said it would create about 10,000 jobs. yes, the pay would be high, but only because it is dangerous and isolated (you would have to separate with your family while there). Where are your numbers from?

Elle said...

I think the GOP's preoccupation with ANWR is based more on a hostility towards environmentalists than on economic reasons (oil OR jobs). When the proposal to open ANWR to drilling was first introduced, the environmentalists made their opposition known. After ANWR was reported to be lacking in its oil resources, the GOP realized that they could still milk the ANWR for all it was worth--economically and politically. Maybe the political motives are revenge or backlash for environmentalists' "anti-corporate" position, or simply to play up stereotypes about "tree-huggers" and sway the American public to their side. However, there is no good political OR economic reason to open ANWR to drilling. 100,000 jobs is good, but ANWR isn't the only door that can be opened.

Boomr said...

I think that there needs to be a definite separation between the terms "environmentalist" and "anti-corporate" (or "anti-globalization"), mainly because a lot of people masquerading as "environmentalists" are really just "anti-globalizationists."

The best example of this that I can give you came from a cable show, Penn & Teller's Bullsh*t!, the premise of which is to go around de-bunking myths about various issues. One episode dealt with environmenalism and the people involved with major protests and petition drives. The hosts interviewed a number of designated spokespeople for the environmental groups, none of whom could articulate, in scientific terms, the basis for their protests.

So, going with the theory that many of these people were mere anti-globalizationists, rather than actual enviromentalists, the hosts devised a petition that they would circulate around a mass "environmentalist" protest rally in DC. The petition sought to ban the use of "dihydrogen monoxide," stating that it was a chemical compound used in virtually every product known to man. The petition got literally hundreds of signatures from the so-called "environmentalists," who described themselves, prior to signing, as being knowledgeable about environmental issues and the science behind those issues.

Of course, "dihydrogen monoxide," when written in chemical notation, is H2O, or water.

The point of this diatribe is that when you're discussing environmental issues, the politics have to take a back seat to the science involved -- at least as far as defining the actual truths behind the issue. Once the truths (or, at lest, the scientific hypotheses) are identified, then the politicos on both sides can come in and debate the merits of certain actions. However, we should not be taking strictly scientific advice from people who have no grounding in science.