I don't think you can have an elected official today better suited to discuss the pros and cons of increased energy production in Alaska than the state's Governor.
June 23, 2008
The Honorable Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader
United States Senate
528 Hart Senate Office Building .
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senate Majority Leader Reid:
In previous correspondence to members of Congress, I have urged the enactment of legislation to authorize development of oil and natural gas in a small portion of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). I will not repeat the arguments in favor of this legislation but will briefly focus on a few key points that have become even more evident since my last correspondence.[# More #]
That letter began, "With the price of oil hovering around $100 per barrel". Now, just a few months later, the price is close to $140 per barrel, and there is no end in sight. What will it take for Congress to enact comprehensive energy policy that includes increased domestic production of oil and gas, renewable and alternative energy, and conservation? It seems to us outside of the Capitol Beltway that Virtually every effort to accomplish this is met with criticism and failure. In my opinion, the debate about energy policy is no longer theoretical and abstract. Our failure to enact an energy policy is having real consequences for every American in their daily lives and has begun to affect America's place in the world.
In the last few days, proposals have been tabled to permit oil exploration and development in the 80 percent of the federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) which is off limits to such activity. I strongly support oes development in Alaska and elsewhere as a necessary component of a sound energy strategy. However, it makes no sense to consider the oes and to ignore the possibility of exploration and development in highly perspective upland areas, including the coastal plain of ANWR-the most promising unexplored petroleum province in North America.
With appropriate stipulations, oil exploration and development in the OCS can be conducted in a safe manner. Uplands development can be accomplished even more safely. Advanced technologies, such as directional drilling and the re-injection of oil wastes, ensure that the footprint of development would be less than 2,000 acres (approximately one-quarter of the size of Dulles Airport).
In advocating for oil development in ANWR, I have never guaranteed that this new domestic production would immediately reduce the price of oil. However, incremental production from the coastal plain should help reduce price volatility in the U.S. Additionally, ANWR development would send a strong message to oil speculators and producing countries that the United States is serious about addressing its energy problem.
Yet, there is an even more important point. The location and quantity of oil
production are changing world geopolitics. Countries that produce significant quantities of oil and natural gas are gaining in power and prestige. Several of these countries have objectives and value systems that are antithetical to U.S. interests. We are becoming increasingly dependent on these insecure sources to our long-term detriment. Further, it has become clear that U.S. petrodollars are financing activities that are harmful to America and to our economic and military interests around the world.
Much attention has been focused on the importance of crude oil and gasoline in fueling our nation's transportation system. This need for petroleum will not end anytime soon despite efforts to develop new technologies and to diversify our transportation system into mass transit and more fuel efficient automobiles.
Meanwhile, the true significance to the nation's economy of products refined from petroleum is becoming increasingly apparent. These products undergird our entire society and economy and provide precious jobs and revenue. The soaring prices of chemicals, plastics, fertilizer, and other products - and the loss of jobs - graphically illustrate this point. We must recognize that it will be many years, if ever, before we discover alternatives to the petroleum-based products that every American uses in our daily lives.
If we don't move now to enact an energy policy that includes more oil and gas production from domestic sources, including ANWR and the federal OCS, we may look back someday and realize that we failed to perceive a critical crossroad in the history of this nation. I don't think it's overly dramatic to say that this nation's future and the quality of life for every American are dependent on the decisions you make or don't make in the next few months.Thank you for considering my views.
cc: President George Bush
Vice President Richard Cheney
The Honorable Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior
The Honorable Samuel Bodman, Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy
The Honorable Ted Stevens, Alaska Congressional Delegation
The Honorable Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Congressional Delegation
The Honorable Don Young, Alaska Congressional Delegation
I couldn't agree more, and a comprehensive All-of-the-Above energy strategy is what Republicans in the House are fighting for.