Thursday, December 22, 2005

Did They Change the Definition of "Mere"?

Der Spiegel reports on events inside the Beltway:

The US House of Representatives on Monday voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. It is one of the largest pristine wilderness areas left in the US.

It's an issue that has been bouncing down the halls of power in Washington for years. But on Monday, the House of Representatives voted to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling. The vote comes as a major defeat for environmental activists across the US who have fought a years-long battle to prevent the pristine wilderness area from pollution by oil wells. For the Bush Administration, however, drilling in the Arctic has been part of a strategy to decrease reliance on foreign oil. Indeed, the drilling provision was attached to a $453 billion Pentagon spending bill -- which the Senate votes on later this week.

It's an issue which has divided Americans for years, with a number of environmental groups having made stopping the plan a priority. And indeed, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest remaining pristinely wild regions left in the United States and is home to a number of Arctic species. It also offers some beautiful scenery. Opponents also point to the fact that the expected yield of the oil fields there is marginal -- a mere 7.7 billion barrels against a daily US consumption of 20.5 million, meaning the oil reserves in the refuge could cover US consumption for a mere 374 days. Proponents of the drilling argue that damage to the habitat provided by the refuge would be minimal.

A mere 374 days? The oil reserves could merely cover all oil consumption for the world's largest economy for more than an entire year?

I'm hoping that this Christmas I receive marginal gifts that merely cover all of my expenses for the next year.

Thanks in advance!

For a great summary of the ANWR drilling issue, check out "Our Fake Drilling Debate" by George Will. We also note that a few Congressmen again lacked the guts to develop known energy resources.

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