Paul Driessen

It’s a far better bargain than producing 7 billion gallons of ethanol in 2007 from corn grown on and area the size of Indiana (23 million acres). It’s far better than using wind to generate enough electricity to power New York City, which would require blanketing Connecticut (3 million acres) with turbines.

Anti-drilling factions also assert: “US energy prices are high, because Americans consume 25% of the world’s oil, while possessing only 3% of its proven oil reserves.”

Possession has nothing to do with prices – any more than owning a library, but never opening the books, improves intellectual abilities; or owning farmland that’s never tilled feeds hungry people.

It is production that matters – and the United States has locked up vast energy resources. Not just an estimated 169 billion barrels of oil in the Outer Continental Shelf, Rockies, Great Lakes, Southwest and ANWR – but also natural gas, coal, uranium and hydroelectric resources.

“Proven reserves” are resources that drilling has confirmed exist and can be produced with current technology and prices. By imposing bans on leasing, and encouraging environmentalists to challenge seismic and drilling permits on existing leases, politicians ensure that we will never increase our proven reserves. In fact, reserves will decrease, as we deplete existing deposits and don’t replace them. The rhetoric is clever – but disingenuous, fraudulent and harmful.

The Geological Survey and Congressional Research Service say it’s 95% likely that there are 15.6 billion barrels of oil beneath ANWR. With today’s prices and technology, 60% of that is recoverable. At $135 a barrel, that represents $1.3 trillion that we would not have to send to Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. It means lower prices and reduced risks of oil spills from tankers carrying foreign crude.

It represents another $400 billion in state and federal royalties and corporate income taxes – plus billions in lease sale revenues, plus thousands of direct and indirect jobs, in addition to numerous jobs created when this $1.7 trillion total is invested in the USA.

It means additional billions in income tax revenues that those jobs would generate, and new opportunities for minority, poor and blue collar families to improve their lives and living standards. It means lower prices for gasoline, heating, cooling, food and other products.

That’s just ANWR. Factor in America’s other locked-up energy, and we’re talking tens of trillions of dollars that we either keep in the United States, by producing that energy … or ship overseas.

This energy belongs to all Americans. It’s not the private property of environmental pressure groups, or of politicians who cater to them in exchange for re-election support.

This energy is likewise the common heritage of mankind. Politicians and eco-activists have no right to keep it off limits – and tell the rest of the world: We have no intention of developing American energy. We don’t care if you need oil, soaring food and energy prices are pummeling your poor, or drilling in your countries harms your habitats to produce oil for US consumers.

Those attitudes are immoral and intolerable. It’s time to drill again here in America – while conserving more and pursuing new energy technologies for the future.

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), which is sponsoring the All Pain No Gain petition against global-warming hype. He also is a senior policy adviser to the Congress of Racial Equality and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.

Be the first to read Paul Driessen's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.