ANWR is larger than the combined areas of five states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware) and drilling along its coastal plain would be confined to a space one-sixth the size of Washington's Dulles Airport. Offshore? Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed or damaged hundreds of drilling rigs without causing a large spill. There has not been a significant spill from an offshore U.S. well since 1969. Of the more than 7 billion barrels of oil pumped offshore in the past 25 years, 0.001 percent -- that is one-thousandth of 1 percent -- has been spilled. Louisiana has more than 3,200 rigs offshore -- and a thriving commercial fishing industry.
In his "Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of 'Energy Independence,'" Robert Bryce says Brazil's energy success has little to do with its much-discussed ethanol production and much to do with its increased oil production, the vast majority of which comes from off Brazil's shore. Investor's Business Daily reports that Brazil, "which recently made a major oil discovery almost in sight of Rio's beaches," has leased most of the world's deep-sea drilling rigs.
In September 2006, two U.S. companies announced that their "Jack No. 2" well, in the Gulf 270 miles southwest of New Orleans, had tapped a field with perhaps 15 billion barrels of oil, which would increase America's proven reserves by 50 percent. Just probing four miles below the Gulf's floor costs $100 million. Congress' response to such expenditures is to propose increasing the oil companies' tax burdens.
America says to foreign producers: We prefer not to pump our oil, so please pump more of yours, thereby lowering its value, for our benefit. Let it not be said that America has no energy policy.