The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska vulnerable amid the energy crisis panic.

“While Denmark invests in wind energy, Iceland thrives off its geothermal springs, Sweden is getting 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources and even Dubai is investing in solar energy, we sit around and complain about the survival of the American family car trip.” – Paul R. Schlitz Jr. Baltimore Sun.

Yesterday Saudi Arabia proposed increasing output but not of the sweet crude oil sought after and so the price of crude hit an all time high of $140 a barrel as the speculation continued to overheat the market. The desperation to replace the depleting stocks of oil from any possible source is casting its shadow over the pristine but resource rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska.

It seems that desperation can cloud common sense as the race is on to despoil even this pristine area in search for more gas to guzzle. Paul R. Schilz of the Baltimore Sun summed up the real underlying problem: Some politicians and others in the US, are burying their heads in the sands of denial. The lifestyle like the fossil fuels are not sustainable. It is time to invest in renewable sources of energy rather than seeking out more problematic solutions.

The reality is that development of oil and gas reserves require years of research and development before the oil and gas come on line so there are no quick fixes. No one knows what the situation will be like then or the opportunity cost of not seeking other solutions in the meantime.

In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an independent statistical agency within the Department of Energy, posited that new oil from ANWR “would have its largest impact nearly 20 years from now if Congress voted to open the refuge today.”

In spite of this, the politics of this painful time is being exploited and people’s desperation is being used as leverage to overturn past decisions that protect environmentally sensitive areas. US House of Representatives candidate Chris Lien will lead a group of Republicans to ANWR from July 14 to 17 on a “fact finding mission”. And so the politicization of the issue begins.

Of course there are many perspectives on the solution required to this energy crisis. Take the following:

“Stop the whining and start drilling” screams the headline in the Boston Herald of June 15, followed up by:

“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska could contain a 17-month supply of crude all by itself. But environmentalists weep for alleged damage to caribou and other wildlife habitat. More hogwash. That refuge is the size of Maine; all production areas together would fit in Logan Airport…..This unwarranted aesthetic sensitivity helps condemn motorists to $4 gasoline. Voters will not put up with bipartisan fecklessness much longer.”

McCain: “I believe ANWR is a pristine area … but I also believe lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling for oil and natural gas is a very high priority.” This is a bet each way.

Democrats, on the other hand, are blaming energy companies for not fully exploiting the domestic oil and gas reserves they already control. “We can’t drill our way out of the problem,” Obama has said recently and he proposes funding a “green energy” approach.”

So the drilling issue is fast becoming a political football and a point of policy difference in the upcoming presidential elections. One does not have far to look for the reason. The results of a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed the following hierarchy of issues of concern for voters: (27 percent) was job creation and economic growth, the war in Iraq (24 percent), energy and gas prices (18 percent). The environment and global warming, however, came in at a paltry 4 percent.

It is, in fact, cool heads that are required in this energy crisis, not knee jerk reactions which could later be regretted. For the sake of all that is involved it is hoped that a cool headed analysis of the problem and solution will be the approach that is followed. The pristine areas such as ANWR and the ecological biodiversity they contain should continue to be preserved for future generations.

Here is what is really at stake with the continuing consumption of fossil fuels: Read this interesting article from Larvatus Prodeo at this link.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

Creator: Chase, Steve
Source: WV-9448-Centennial CD
Publisher: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

It is a land of superlatives. From the magnificent Brooks Mountain Range to the coast of the Beaufort Sea, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge harbors the greatest diversity of wildlife of any protected circumpolar area. Birds from four continents are found here at one time or another during the year. Many nest and breed here. And there are 45 species of mammals–36 land and 9 marine–many found on no other refuge.


The Transantarctic Mountains between McMurdo Station and Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. The lines in the glaciers illustrate crevasses formed by the movement of the ice downhill.

Glacier and Mountains.

Photograph by: Emily Stone, National Science Foundation. Date Taken: December 6, 2004.


~ by abstraktbiblos on Tuesday, 17 June, 2008.

One Response to “The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska vulnerable amid the energy crisis panic.”

  1. […] public places, supposedly to ease the increasing cost of energy that most Americans face. In my post of  June, 17, I examined some of the limiting factors of taking this simplistic knee-jerk approach to a crisis […]

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