Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Oil drilling in Alaska will help save economy

I ask you the question of where Obama is going to get the money to fund his alternative energy initiatives.  

While I do support a change to alternative energy, and I myself have never been to Alaska, I am having difficulty seeing feasible options other than tapping our Northern oil sources.

The national deficit, courtesy of the previous administration, amounts to about an 11 trillion dollar deficit (US national deficit clock).

To generate funds for an alternative energy future, perhaps it is necessary for the United States to start exporting more products while importing fewer products.  

One of the highly demanded products on the U.S. and worldwide market is sweet light crude oil. In this case, the U.S. has known reserves to mine which can generate funds for the push to alternative energy.

Even though I do not support rampant drilling around the refuge, the use of strategic acquisition of land for drilling can help lessen the United States’ imports of foreign oil.

This brings up the controversial debate over the drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Preserve (ANWR).  

Oil companies will only explore 8% of the total preserve. If the oil is discovered, only about 1.5 million acres of the total 17.5 million acres would be used for drilling. Of that 1.5 million, only 2000 acres would be used to provide the development needed to extract the oil (anwr.org).

New oil excavating technologies allow for less invasive techniques and for platforms to be built along less sensitive areas. The platforms are able to tap into reserves off to the side rather than straight down (anwr.org).

Here, the perceived conditions of allowing drilling in all parts of the preserve are not applicable and demonstrate a compromise between wildlife and corporate interests.

The economic impact of creating jobs and providing income to the government will help with the current financial situation.

Many environmentalists claim that the drilling will harm the wildlife; however, with the construction of the Trans: Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) it creates quite the opposite.

In the case of the Prudhoe Bay development, the central arctic caribou population has increased over the past 10 years since the completion of the Alaskan pipeline (fws.gov). So the development does not necessarily devastate the wildlife as many opponents claim.  

Prudhoe Bay Oil Field is a current operational Alaskan oil field on the North Slope, and is adjacent to ANWR (columbia.edu). It is the largest oil producer in North America, and fuels much of the controversy surrounding the ANWR developments for oil.  

TAPS is a pipeline that moves oil from North Slope down to the nearest ice free port of Vladez, Alaska (alyeska-pipe.com).

The money for an alternative energy movement needs to come from somewhere.

One of those options is to create more energy at home and use the earnings for more efficient alternative energy to power the U.S. in the future.  

Here, drilling in Alaska might be the best option to create the funds needed for alternative energy advances.

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  • L

    ldMar 3, 2009 at 2:57 am

    As an alum involved in the drilling industry I can tell you that environmental precautions on a drill site are very stringent and subject to frequent inspection, particularly on the North Slope. I attended an industry seminar with people involved in North Slope production and was informed that no fluids (including biological!) can touch the ground on those drill sites.
    At the same time, with the absurdly low prices of crude and natural gas currently, I doubt if opening ANWAR up will create a noticeable source of revenue for the federal government. Future gas taxes will only further drop the price of petroleum product, leaving little incentive for companies to invest the large sums of money required for exploration.

  • C

    catclawFeb 27, 2009 at 6:16 am

    The final size of ANWR will be huge with many miles of gravel roads, not ice roads as winter no longers last long enough to drill an exploration well. All production wells will be accessed with gravel roads. The production pads, warehouses, airstrips, garbage holding facilities, lodging and every other needed facility to service such a remote site will require many more acres than the ridiculous 2,000 acres usually mentioned. The final size for ANWR will be huge. The simple truth would better serve those pressing to drill. Will they let the operators go bankrupt or walk away when the oil is gone, leaving the mess so commonly seen in many oil producing areas. I read and agree that the oil companies should be required to deposit at the start enough money to fully restore the damage done. They shouldn’t mind that and I can’t see why anybody would be against this requirement.