Congress Opens ANWR For Drilling
by jesse, cle-imc newswire
Saturday, Mar. 19, 2005 at 7:54 AM
Last Wednesday, March 16, Congress approved a budget bill that included provisions to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil drilling in a 51-49 vote. The long Rebublican-led battle to drill In past years has met with massive resistance from environmental groups, who ferverently battle to preserve the unique and delicate ecosystems in ANWR.
In past years ANWR drilling was considered an energy issue and not a budget issue, so bills could be filibustered during energy bill debates. Recent gas price spikes combined with rhetoric of an "energy crisis" are reasons given why drilling is now considered a budget issue, making it immune to filibuster.
Not only have skyrocketing gas prices justifed passing ANWR drilling as a budget issue, but they have also given weight to the argument that drilling can stabilize oil prices. Although popular, the argument seems to make little sense. Conservative estimates predict ANWR would contain a mere two years worth of oil, leaving a worse crisis when ANWR runs dry and US remains dependent as ever on oil.
As a matter of fact, the only "long-term" effects of ANWR drilling seem to be the environmental devastation and the millions of dollars made by oil companies (and their Congressional lapdogs) in the process. Dick Cheney, who has close ties with the oil industry, made a rare appearance at Wednesday's vote "just in case his vote was needed".
Benjamin Sovacool, in a Roanoke.com editorial comment, explains how this short-term grab for profit will have a devastating aftermath. ANWR drilling refineries would have a destructive effect on widespread ecosystems, violates several international treaties ratified by the United States, and only furthers a (ultimately self-destructive) dependency on oil, he argues.
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