Bush Looks to Alaska again for Oil

Discussion in 'Economy' started by -Cp, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. -Cp
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    -Cp Senior Member

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    http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=sto...ap_on_go_pr_wh/second_term_energy_1&printer=1



    Bush Looking Anew for Alaska Oil Drilling

    41 minutes ago

    BY H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON - Republican gains in the Senate could give President Bush (news - web sites) his best chance yet to achieve his No. 1 energy priority — opening an oil-rich but environmentally sensitive Alaska wildlife refuge to drilling.

    If he is successful, it would be a stinging defeat for environmentalists and an energy triumph that eluded Bush his first four years in the White House. A broader agenda that includes reviving nuclear power, preventing blackouts and expanding oil and gas drilling in the Rockies will be more difficult to enact.

    Republicans in the House and Senate said this week they plan to push for Alaska refuge drilling legislation early next year, and they predict success, given the 55-44-1 GOP Senate majority in the next Congress. Democrats and some environmental activists say continued protection of the refuge has never been as much in doubt.

    "It's probably the best chance we've had," Rep. Richard Pombo (news, bio, voting record), R-Calif., chairman of the House Resources Committee and a vocal drilling advocate, said in an interview.

    Sen. Pete Domenici (news, bio, voting record), R-N.M., chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said he will press to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as part of the government's budget deliberations early in 2005. That would enable drilling proponents to skirt an otherwise certain Democratic-led filibuster that would be difficult to overcome.

    "With oil trading at nearly $50 a barrel, the case for ANWR is more compelling than ever," said Domenici. "We have the technology to develop oil without harming the environment and wildlife."

    Bush is also expected in his second term to renew his call for action by Congress on a broader, largely pro-production, energy agenda — from easing rules for oil and gas drilling on federal land in the Rocky Mountains to expanding clean-coal technology and improving the reliability of the electricity grid.

    New tax incentives to spur construction of next-generation nuclear power plants also will be back on the table after Democrats and some moderate Republicans scuttled it last year. Greater use of corn-based ethanol in gasoline also has wide support at the White House and in Congress.

    Drilling in the Alaska refuge has been all but dismissed as unachievable since drilling opponents two years ago beat back a pro-development measure by a 52-48 vote. Bush did not make an issue of the refuge during the presidential campaign.

    But with four new GOP senators expected to support ANWR drilling and the loss of a Republican moderate who opposed it, drilling advocates believe they now have at least 52 votes in the Senate, enough to get the measure through Congress as part of the budget process. By Senate rules, opponents of drilling cannot filibuster a budget measure. ANWR qualifies as a budget measure because it will generate income for the government from oil companies.

    Environmentalists already are gearing up to wage an intense lobbying campaign to keep oil rigs out of the refuge's coastal plain, a breeding ground for caribou, home to polar bears and musk oxen and site of an annual influx of millions of migratory birds.

    "This is as serious a threat to the refuge as any that has come before," said Jim Waltman of the National Wildlife Federation. "But the facts haven't changed. This is still a magnificent area and it can still be damaged by oil drilling."

    But geologists believe 11 billion barrels of oil lie beneath the refuge's tundra and ice, and drilling supporters contend they can be tapped without damage to the environment or wildlife.

    Regardless the outcome in the Alaska refuge dispute, the path to getting a comprehensive energy bill is likely to be full of potholes. Twice in the last four years lawmakers have agreed on 85 percent or more of an energy package only to see final action derailed over narrow, although intensely contentious, issues.

    Some lawmakers, including Sen. Jeff Bingaman (news, bio, voting record) of New Mexico, senior Democrat on the energy committee that will write the legislation, argue that lawmakers should focus instead on passing separate bills on the most urgent and widely supported measures.

    Some of that already has occurred, such as the recently approved loan guarantees for a proposed $20 billion natural gas pipeline from Alaska to the lower 48 states.

    Despite the GOP's new strength, Senate Democrats can still put the brakes on energy measures they strongly oppose through filibusters such as the one that blocked an energy bill in 2003. The issue then in dispute was liability protection for makers of the MTBE gasoline additives, which have been found to contaminate water systems.

    However, given the stronger GOP majority, sustaining such filibusters may be more difficult.
     
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  2. Zhukov
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    Zhukov VIP Member

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    What, precisely, currently prohibits companies from drilling in ANWR?
     
  3. freeandfun1
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    freeandfun1 VIP Member

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    NWR = National Wildlife Reserve

    Without government approval, nothing can be done there. The land is not privately held.
     
  4. -Cp
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    -Cp Senior Member

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    I'd like to see them drill the livin' piss outta that land up there... then we could tell Cananda, South America and the Saudi's to go to hell..:p
     
  5. Zhukov
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    Zhukov VIP Member

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    Ok, that's what I thought. So can't the President, by executive order, just change that classification and auction the land off to the highest bidder?
     
  6. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    The President could sell off the land; it's probably easier to get permission to drill on it than to sell it.

    And let's not kid ourselves. ANWR is not beautiful, pristine Alaskan forests like you see in the promotional video. The area they want to drill in is a frozen, mosquito-laden wasteland. Think the Sahara Desert with ice instead of sand. No one lives there except swarms of mosquitos; no one visits there except oil drillers, Eskimos (who, frankly, welcome the business), and caribou.
     
  7. NightTrain
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    NightTrain VIP Member

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    You're right on the money, Jeff.

    ANWR is a barren, frozen tundra that looks nothing like what you see in a Greenie ad. Tundra for as far as the eye can see. There are Polar Bears and Caribou, and the current drilling rigs and the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline that runs coast-to-coast all exist peacefully. In fact, the caribou enjoy having that pipeline up on the North Slope so they have something to hide behind when it's 80 degrees below zero and the wind is howling at 60 MPH. In the spring there's millions of migratory birds that come up, but the current situation there hasn't bothered them a bit, either. It's hard to get across just how absolutely vast that area is.

    The Greenies love that line, "Pristine Alaskan Wilderness" and show clips of Prince William Sound. The clear deception they run is sickening.

    I think it's for this reason the Democrats and Greenies are generally looked down upon up here.. the vast majority of knuckleheads running around protesting drilling in ANWR have no friggin idea what they're protesting. We watch the commercials showing true Alaskan wilderness while they're talking about ANWR - no one in the rest of the country could be expected to know any different.

    The Eskimos love having the North Slope running there; they've made millions from it.

    With any luck, we can finally get that opened up. No, it won't solve all of the USA's energy problems, but it's one hell of a large step in the right direction.
     
  8. manu1959
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    manu1959 Left Coast Isolationist

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    you know...it is no wonder the dinosaurs died out.....frozen tundra.....deserts....not too smart those lizzards
     
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  9. insein
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    insein Senior Member

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    do you have any information on the subject jeff or NT? I'd like to take your word for it but i'd rather not fall into the "follower" category as the opposition has. I for one feel that it is neccessary to drill in ANWR. I have no idea what it is, who lives there etc. I just feel that we should exhaust all means neccessary to eliminate dependence on foreign nations for energy.
     
  10. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    National Review had a great article about it a couple of years ago. Not sure where to get web info though.
     

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