Monday, December 6, 2010

Eco-Insanity and ANWR

By Alan Caruba

The abject desperation and evil intentions of so-called environmentalists can be seen in the call to turn the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) into a national monument on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its designation.

This would provide ANWR with the same status as the Statue of Liberty—only there aren't billion of barrels of oil under the Statue, nor at George Washington’s birthplace in Virginia.

The idea of conferring national monument status on ANWR is so stupid that it should be laughed out of existence, but unfortunately we have a President who is so intent on denying Americans access to the vast treasure trove of energy resources—oil, coal, and natural gas—that common sense has nothing to do with his decisions.

Reporting from Anchorage, Alaska, for the Associated Press, Mary Pemberton noted that “National monument status could be an estimated 11 billion barrels of recoverable oil beyond the grasp of oil companies forever.” And that means beyond the use of Americans for the countless uses of oil that they depend upon every day for transportation, heating, lubrication, and the manufacture of thousands of products.

The usual nitwits have sent letters to the President, a combination of 80 members of Congress, 170 unidentified “scientists”, some 300 businesses and organizations (that might benefit if oil was in short supply), and 22 religious organizations. Nobody in Alaska supports this idiocy.

There are some well-known facts worth considering.

Alaska comprises 378 million acres.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuse consists of 19.5 million acres.

The area in question where the drilling would occur involves only 1.5 million acres and, of that, only about 2,000 acres would be utilized.

By comparison, Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. takes up an area that is five times as big, fully 11,000 acres.

The area designated for drilling is far from a “pristine” wonderland. While there are parts of Alaska that are breathtakingly beautiful, ANWR is a perfect definition for “when Hell freezes over.”

After visiting Alaska in 2001, Jonah Goldberg, a nationally syndicated columnist, wrote in 2001 that the more beautiful parts of Alaska are far from ANWR and, in particular, “The oil is on the coastal plain at the very top of ANWR on the coast of the Arctic Ocean. And it ain’t beautiful.” The greatest population of wildlife there are trillions of mosquitoes.

“Winter on the coastal plan lasts for nine months,” noted Goldberg. “Total darkness reigns for 58 straight days. The temperatures drop to 70 degrees below zero without wind chill.”

Far from being a tourist’s mecca, ANWR said Goldberg “is a colossal fetid petri dish for some of the worst flying pestilence you can imagine.” In addition to the mosquitoes, there are nostril flies that infest caribou and parasitic warble flies that make life on the plain a hell for its local fauna. The caribou, by the way, had in 2001 increased their population “fivefold since oil exploration began decades ago in nearby Prudhoe Bay.”

The area of ANWR where the oil is known to exist is a vast frozen tundra. Not the ecological treasure the environmentalists are always braying about. Oil drilling would require roads, drill pads, and pipelines. The 2,000 acres involved is 1/20th the size of Washington, D.C. It’s the equivalent to twenty of the buildings where Boeing manufacturers its 747s.

If you flew over, it would be a tiny speck in a huge frozen wasteland. And it would provide about two million barrels of oil a day that we would not need to import from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

An Arctic wilderness is not a national monument and it is an obscenity to even consider such a designation.

Editor's Note: For more information, visit

© Alan Caruba, 2010


TexasFred said...

To NOT drill ANWR is the biggest travesty I have heard in a long while.. We NEED the oil, and it's a good way to shut out the Muslims...

Unknown said...

I have admired,been in awe of, the United States since I found a stash of National Geographic magazines in my uncle's farmhouse where I was dumped every summer from about age eight by my parents.
It gave my Uncle a pretty useless extra pair of hands (I could feed the chickens) and it gave my parents a break and a chance to produce babies I suspect.
So say 60 years.
I've taken a great interest in things American and visited on occasion to check on how you are coping since you broke away from England's clutches.

I cannot ever remember reading of such collective political insanity that is afflicting you at the present time. About half my internet bookmarks are on the USA so I keep up.

Will you survive this onslaught of stupidity and malice?
It sometimes seems the USA and the UK (or should that be the EUSSR) are competing in a death spiral.
I get close to despair.
Best wishes.

Alan Caruba said...

@EM: I have much the same feeling when I read news out of England. It's been like a collective bout of insanity and stupidity by both nations since the end of WWII.

And, yes, I think the US will survive because Americans have an amazing capacity to organize themselves around issues. The Tea Party movement is testimony to that.

Obama's last two years in office are going to be ugly and I hope it hates every minute of it.

Unknown said...

US energy policy, along with many other policies, are based far more on feel-good emotion than on reality. The lies about ANWR are intended to support the feel-good, and to hell with national well-being.