February 17, 2003
BACKGROUND: Congressman Edward
Markey (D-MA) introduced a bill on February 13, 2003 to designate
nearly 1.6 million acres of the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as wilderness, thus permanently banning
oil and gas exploration in the area.1
TEN SECOND RESPONSE: Oil exploration
in ANWR can be done in an environmentally-friendly manner, will
provide thousands of jobs and decrease our dependence on foreign
THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: The U.S.
Department of Interior estimates that ANWR can provide between
nine and 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil.2 If
oil exploration were approved, only 1.5 million acres (eight percent)
of ANWR would be considered for environmentally-friendly exploration
and less than 2,000 acres (less than one percent) of the Coastal
Plain would be affected.3
DISCUSSION: The following are
charges and responses concerning oil exploration in ANWR:
Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA): "The industry loves the [Arctic
National Wildlife] Refuge so much that it wants to brand it with
scars for a lifetime."4
Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ): "...keep
the Arctic Refuge as it was meant to be - pristine, sacred and
Exploration in ANWR can be done safely and would not produce "scars
for a lifetime." President Clinton's Department of Energy
confirmed that current technology makes environmentally-friendly
drilling possible. Ice-based roads, bridges, drilling pads and
airstrips have become the standard for drilling in the Alaskan
North Slope. It leaves virtually no marks indicating it was on
the tundra; ice structures simply melt in the spring.6
Congressman Markey claims the industry loves the Refuge, but does
he himself love unemployment? Oil exploration in ANWR could provide
between 250,000 and 735,000 new jobs7 and has a potential
value between $125 and $350 billion (in 1998 dollars).8
Gene Karpinski, executive director of U.S. Public Interest Research
Group: "It makes no sense to destroy one of the most beautiful
places in the world."9
Most people would not consider ANWR one of the most beautiful
places in the world. The Coastal Plain, where exploration would
occur, is a flat, treeless, nearly featureless plain where the
temperature can drop to 40 degrees below zero in the winter.10 Nor
would the proposed drilling "destroy" it.
Congresswoman Nancy Johnson (R-CT): "Our energy supply is
not at stake, but if we drill in the refuge our environment will
We know oil exploration will not put the environment in danger.
After 20 years of oil exploration at nearby Prudhoe Bay, the population
of caribou has grown from 3,000 to as high as 23,400.10 Furthermore,
modern infrastructure already exists in ANWR. The Inupiat Native
Americans who live there have an airstrip, power lines and an
Oil exploration in ANWR could approximately replace what we currently
import from Saudi Arabia for 30 years or replace one-half of what
we import from the entire Persian Gulf for 36 years.14
Sarah James of the Gwich'in tribe: "The only right thing
to do is to take care of that birthplace, that very special place."15
The Gwich'in tribe does not live in ANWR. The Inupiat Native Americans
are the only people native to the ANWR region, and they support
exploration by a margin of 78 percent to nine percent.16 Pro-drilling
resolutions in the Alaskan legislature have received 100 percent
support from both parties.17
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
National Policy Analysis #324, "Environmentalists'
Opposition to Oil Exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge Is Unfounded," by John Carlisle at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA324.html
National Policy Analysis #371, "Wishes
Won't Fuel Our Economy: We Need Drilling" by Amy Ridenour
Ten Second Response #TSR21302, "Bill
Clinton's Department of Energy is on Record: Oil and Gas Exploration
is Environmentally Friendly" by Tom Randall at http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR21302.html
National Policy Analysis #305, "Government
Restrictions on Domestic Energy Development Contribute to U.S.
Dependence on Foreign Oil," by John Carlisle at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA305.html
Ten Second Response #TSR73001, "Environmental
Groups Target Congress on Bush Energy Plan/ANWR" by Gretchen
Randall at http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR73001.html
"Top Ten Reasons to Support Development
in ANWR," Arctic Power ANWR website, available at http://www.anwr.org/topten.htm
as of February 6, 2003
"City of Kaktovik ANWR Survey,"
January 2000, Arctic Power ANWR website, available at http://www.anwr.org/features/kaktovik.htm
as of February 7, 2003
"The Players," Arctic Power ANWR website, available
at http://www.anwr.org/features/players/residents.htm as of February
"Potential Oil Production from the
Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Updated
Assessment," U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information
Administration, Washington, D.C., available at http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/analysis_publications/arctic_national_wildlife_refuge/html/execsummary.html
as of January 27, 2003
by Chris Burger, Program
The John P. McGovern M.D. Center for Environmental and Regulatory
The National Center for Public Policy Research
Contact the author at: 202-507-6398
The National Center for Public Policy Research
777 N. Capitol St. NE Suite 803
Washington, D.C. 20001
1 "Record Number of Bipartisan Lawmakers Introduce
Bill to Protect Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," Press Release,
Congressman Ed Markey, Washington, D.C., February 13, 2003, downloaded
from the Internet at http://www.house.gov/markey/iss_arctic_pr030213.pdf
on February 14, 2003.
2 "Top Ten Reasons to Support Development in ANWR,"
Arctic Power ANWR website, downloaded from the Internet at http://www.anwr.org/topten.htm
on February 6, 2003.
3 "Top Ten Reasons to Support Development in ANWR."
4 "Record Number of Bipartisan Lawmakers Introduce
Bill to Protect Arctic National Wildlife Refuge."
5 Eryn Gable, "Markey Offers Bill to Block Drilling
in ANWR," Environment and Energy Daily, February 14, 2003,
downloaded from the Internet at http://www.eenews.net/EEDaily/Backissues/02140306.htm
on February 14, 2003 (password required).
6 "Environmental Benefits of Advanced Oil and Gas
Exploration and Production Technology," U.S. Department of
Energy, Office of Natural Gas and Petroleum Technology, Washington,
7 "Top Ten Reasons to Support Development in ANWR."
8 "Potential Oil Production from the Coastal Plain
of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Updated Assessment,"
U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration,
Washington, D.C., downloaded from the Internet at http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/analysis_publications/arctic_national_wildlife_refuge/html/execsummary.html
on January 27, 2003.
10 U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski, "Drilling Won't Make
it Less of a Refuge," The Washington Post, December 10, 2000.
12 "Top Ten Reasons to Support Development in ANWR."
14 Gretchen Randall, "In Movie Theatre Ads, Actor
Martin Sheen Attacks Proposed ANWR Drilling," Ten Second
Response, October 19, 2001, available on the Internet at http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR101901.html.
16 "City of Kaktovik ANWR Survey," January 2000,
Arctic Power ANWR website, downloaded from the Internet at http://www.anwr.org/features/kaktovik.htm
on February 7k, 2003.
17 "The Players," Arctic Power ANWR website,
downloaded from the Internet at http://www.anwr.org/features/players/residents.htm
on February 6, 2003.