Paul  Weyrich

In a remarkably short time the public has changed from supporters of environmentalism to advocates of drilling for oil and natural gas in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and/or in the ocean. For the first time since the 1970s liberals in both parties have found themselves responding to significant demands for drilling. Their responses are meant to confuse the electorate in order to turn public opinion back to their position on the environment.

Toward that end liberals have come up with two mantras which we hear on every talk show, in every press conference and in every speech addressing the high cost of gasoline. The first mantra is that it will take at least 10, maybe 30 years before we see a drop of oil coming from the ground at the aforementioned sites. The second mantra is that greedy oil companies already have 86 million acres of leases provided by the Federal Government. They only want more leases to satisfy their greed.

On the first point, correspondent Ken Wood pointed out that Larry Kudlow recently featured on his television show James T. Hackett, President and CEO of Anadarko Petroleum Company. Whereas some liberals are saying it could take 30 years for the oil to be available, Hackett said it would take two or three years, depending upon where the oil was drilled. Indeed, I saw one oil exploration expert on Fox News Channel who said that if the right equipment were available it would take only one year to get the first oil since the oil companies know exactly where the oil is located in the outer Continental Shelf. One oil shale expert told proponents of drilling in the House of Representatives that the first 800 million barrels of oil from shale could be available in two or three years. The remaining estimated two trillion barrels of oil from shale would take longer to have ready because they would be more difficult to extricate. But the initial 800 million barrels would help the U.S. economy.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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