Thursday, March 17, 2005

 

The Whole Truth On ANWR

One of the SAEN's lead stories on the front page is about the Senate's approval of drilling in ANWR. I would like to clear up a major misconception (lie) in the SAEN's coverage. The SAEN implies drilling will take place throughout ANWR's 1.5 million acre coastal plain:
Nevertheless, the Senate made clear with Wednesday's vote that a majority now supports tapping what is believed to be at least 10.4 billion barrels of oil within the refuge's 1.5 million-acre coastal plain, sad Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

Unfortunately, this is not true. As the Washington Times explains, drilling will take place on a miniscule portion of the coastal plain:
The provision allows for drilling on up to 2,000 acres of the 1.5 million-acre coastal plain of the refuge, and supporters argued that doing so would be good for Alaska's economy and for American energy independence.

And in light of record oil prices (unless you adjust for inflation) I am okay with that.

In addition, the SAEN goes on to say that environmentalist are against drilling in ANWR because it would "harm the calving grounds of caribou, polar bears and millions of migratory birds..." Again, not entirely true. Calf of the Central Artic Herd of caribou have quadrupled since the Alaskan pipeline was built. Finally, if the SAEN is worried about birds, then we must address the cat issue now:
Estimates for how many birds cats kill in the United States vary almost as widely. The lowest estimates are around 100 million and go up to the 2.5 billion, though the consensus seems to hover around half a billion. What this leaves out, of course, is that many vulnerable bird species are particularly threatened by cats (and, alas, sometimes dogs as well), a non-native predator that often kills small animals for the fun of it.

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