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Some facts about ANWR


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After reading the ANWR posting with much interest, I thought it would be fun to add these comments from the governor of Alaska printed in the Seattle PI:


For more than a century, the economic vitality of Washington state and Alaska has been intertwined. From the Gold Rush to the oil boom, money and natural resources leaving Alaska have passed through Washington, creating tens of thousands of jobs. Seattle-based companies are key investors in Alaska's multibillion-dollar seafood, shipping, tourism and retail industries.


The benefits to Washington state's economy will continue to grow if Congress approves oil development in a small section of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.


Washington's five oil refineries process billions of dollars of Alaska crude, supplying consumers throughout the Northwest with energy. Washington alone consumes 18 million gallons of petroleum daily. Apparently, not everyone is traveling to their destinations on bicycles. If Alaska's crude oil were not available, Washington state would be getting its oil supply from Middle Eastern nations in foreign ships with foreign crews, built in foreign shipyards.


More than half of this country's oil comes from foreign sources, particularly OPEC. America needs American oil — to reduce our dependence on the foreign oil that threatens our national security. We must develop energy sources in America, for the American consumer, while safeguarding American security.


Alaska's environmental standards are the highest in the world, and yet Washington Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray — opponents of ANWR drilling — have repeatedly declined my invitations to visit ANWR and see firsthand this area of national importance.


Your senators would have witnessed that Alaska mandates the highest environmental standards in the world. Technological advances in environmentally friendly drilling, developed in Alaska, have been transferred to other locations around the globe, lifting the bar for the entire industry.


Protecting the environment is a global issue, not just an Alaskan issue. Stopping the exploration of ANWR only shifts oil production to other parts of the world where environmental standards are lower.


Advances in directional drilling make the footprint in ANWR extremely small. Use of only 2,000 acres for ANWR development is authorized in the House energy bill, yet ANWR is 19 million acres, about the size of Colorado.


Federal biologists began surveying the Central Arctic caribou herd in 1978, after the Alaska pipeline began operation. Since then, the herd has grown from 5,000 to over 32,000 animals. Alaska has proven it can be responsible; wildlife in ANWR will continue to coexist with cautious oil and gas exploration.


ANWR is not like other federal land. When it became a refuge in 1980, the enormous oil potential in the "1002 area" was already known. This small area of ANWR was given a special designation that allowed for oil drilling with authorization from Congress and the president's signature.


Critics falsely claim ANWR will only produce six months of oil. This incorrectly assumes ANWR would be the only oil field in operation in the world. In fact, ANWR oil will make significant contributions to the nation's energy supply for decades, replacing what we import from Saudi Arabia for the next 20 years. To bring this statistic home, ANWR alone would supply the state of Washington with all of its oil needs for 15 years.


Some estimates use the most pessimistic production figures by counting only 3.5 billion barrels of oil. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates between 12 billion and 32 billion barrels exist in the ANWR "1002 area," of which between 6 billion and 16 billion barrels are recoverable using current technology.


Some say ANWR will take at least seven years to begin production. That delay is because of the comprehensive environmental-impact study necessary to ensure that the environment is protected.


Like all Americans, I support research and technological development in alternative energies so that in the future we can reduce our energy dependence. But we must be realistic — right now the world moves on oil and that will be the case for years to come. Until the arrival of new energy technology, oil from ANWR can significantly help in easing our dependence on foreign imports.


Producing oil in Alaska means high-paying careers for American workers, not foreigners. Companies friendly to our country will profit, rather than governments that would prefer our demise.


We need an honest discussion of the facts and science regarding responsible ANWR oil production and its numerous benefits for America. Please encourage Washington state's two senators to actually visit the North Slope of Alaska and see what they are voting against at the expense of their own state, Alaska and America's national-security interests.


Frank H. Murkowski is the governor of Alaska.

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I seems unlikely that we would export oil from Alaska to China with the pipeline/tanker infrastructure set up to bring it to the US for refining. The logistics of getting petroleum from other parts of Asia and the Middle East are way more simple.


Calling Frank a piece of shit doesn't really counter or refute his arguments even if he is one.

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shiping oil is actully cheaper than pipeing it from the middle east to china, besides the real issue is letting them into protected lands if it happens there we may soon see other protected lands ravaged, for instance utah national parks would become toxic waste dumps, oil comsumption is not only outdated its proven to be inefficent ( gas engines are about 25% fuel efficent, and deasels are maybe 33 or so % effcent.) and they polute so bad that there is a definate, but unditermined, date that the world as we know it will end if we don't find and use other sorces. you say how will it end, well if WW3 doesn't break out over oil rights, global warming will do the trick eventually from co2 emissions.

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The Toyota Prius is not enough. Without viable alternative energy sources (promised to consumers since the 1970's) we need to drill. Oil is the lifeblood of civilization, and the less we buy from middle eastern countries the better. As for the gloom and doom of environmental destruction:


"ANWR is not like other federal land. When it became a refuge in 1980, the enormous oil potential in the "1002 area" was already known. This small area of ANWR was given a special designation that allowed for oil drilling with authorization from Congress and the president's signature."

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we could easily cut our oil dependecy in half if the poeple with money aka the oil companies didn't control the car/ energy market, and wheren't making so much money in those markets, the funny thing about the the prius and other new cars isthey get around 40mpg, in the late 70's and early 80's vw was making rabits with deasil engines that got 50 mpg, convert that to biodeasel and you now have a vehicle that polutes less and goes farther, ie is more effient and in the early 80's honda accords and other such cars where getting 35+ mpg, now days people are happy to get 20 + mpg its stupid and the reason are pretty obious. its quite ironic that since the war in iraq started gas prices have nearly doubled, yeah we didn't go there to get oil, we went there to close that market and thereby drive prices up, so the people here that owned oil got more money for it.

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More from the Seattle Times' Bruce Ramsey:


Two weeks ago in this space I argued for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. ANWR oil, I said, is at the end of the Alaska Pipeline and will be available only as long as the pipeline is, which is a few decades. The wildlife, I said, will survive because the footprint of modern oil drilling is small and because there is no need to develop the Arctic coast for anything else. And I asserted, "Our civilization needs the oil."


Dozens of readers told me I was wrong. Consider what they attacked and what they let stand.


Several asserted that drilling would spoil the refuge, but not one argued that it would kill the animals. The first question is esthetic or spiritual; the second, scientific. On the scientific question, they gave me a pass.


What set them fuming was my statement, "Our civilization needs the oil."


One response was that Americans may need the oil, but won't get it. "The bulk of this oil will go to China, Korea and Japan," one reader wrote. "Regular U.S. citizens (and taxpayers) get nothing from this." Assume the oil goes to Asia. The conclusion does not follow. From ANWR oil, Americans would get taxes, royalties and jobs. Also we would get some slack in the oil market, because if China buys more oil from Alaska, it buys less from someplace else.


The oil market is global, which means that supply from anywhere benefits consumers everywhere. Demand from anywhere is felt everywhere. Indeed, the most commonly given reason for gas rising above $2 in the United States is increased demand in China.


Several readers argued that we don't need ANWR oil because the world has enough. "The Middle East is awash in oil," one wrote. The market suggests otherwise, but at least his conclusion — don't drill — follows logically.


But a number of readers argued that the world is running out of oil, so therefore don't look for any more. A believer in "peak oil" — the running-out thesis — wrote, "Drilling there won't help. We use 22 million barrels a day, at most there are four billion barrels there. You do the math — if you can."


Four billion barrels will help. How could they not?


Many readers tended to argue that if a solution wasn't "sustainable," meaning that it wouldn't solve our energy problem forever, we shouldn't consider it. The reason why solar, wind and other perpetual energy sources are still tiny, they said, is that the oil industry has blocked them. "The level of effort and money expended to date to find alternative sources of energy is about that of Orville and Wilbur in their garage," wrote one reader, who said, "What we need is a Manhattan Project."


Well, we had synfuels. That was a big government project.


Another wrote me that Denmark, which gets 15 to 20 percent of its electricity from windmills, has gone from "being 98 percent dependent upon foreign oil/energy in 1975 to being an exporter of energy today." Learn from Denmark!


But the larger reason Denmark is an energy exporter is its aggressive drilling in the North Sea. Denmark has increased its oil reserves to 1.3 billion barrels — a lot for Denmark, though only one-third of what is said to be under ANWR.


Of all the rebuttals, the one I heard the most was that we shouldn't drill for any more oil until we quit wasting it. One wrote: "We squander energy simply because it's cheap. We use gasoline — a product of a precious, non-renewable resource — not just to save us from walking back from the store with a heavy bag of groceries or a rented DVD, but to blow leaves from the sidewalk to the gutter. We live as if there's no tomorrow. We don't 'need' more oil. We just 'want' it."


A Seattle woman wrote: "What do you need, really? Have you ever stopped to consider that?"


If that is our philosophy, we should decide not only against drilling in ANWR, but anywhere, or expanding our standard of living at all. Because whatever we have, some people will waste — or be perceived as wasting.


Finally, of my argument that because of the pipeline, a decision not to drill in ANWR in the next few decades is a decision to abandon the oil: none of my correspondents said a word.

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flying windwmills generate power at half the cost of coal

oil and coal are last century's power. time to get with the program.

So a flying windmill is tethered to the ground. It is essentially a kite (hey check it out Marie). So can you always count on there being wind at 15,000 ft to keep the thing aloft without power? You'd have to feed it power whenever the wind dies, or it would fall out of the sky.
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Hmm... the Rumsfeld Argument ("absence of evidence is not evidence of absence") is sure popular these days.


About the original editorial posted here: according to the Senate Energy Committee, ANWR oil output would be a drop in the bucket (source: http://energy.senate.gov/legislation/energybill/charts/chart8.pdf ). The 15 years of WA's oil needs that AK's governor says would be taken care of by ANWR is just another way to say "drop in the bucket". WA consumes just 2.3% of the oil burned in the US (source: http://www.oilcrisis.com/us/eia/StateSummaries1997.pdf).


Other energy sources are much more promising, like natural gas and safer nuclear power. Solar power seems to work well, but it's expensive up front. Wind power is not scalable.


Drilling in ANWR just seems like a precedent-setting battle to me (and a pork project for Alaskans).

Edited by slothrop
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This thing appears to me to be a battle over money/jobs versus conservation of the environment.


Obviously the Alaskans and the oil companies want this thing opened up because it will bring them money and jobs.


Conservationists don't care about money and jobs for Alaskans and especially not for the oil companies, but of course are concerned with permanently altering a pristine wildlife habitat, an increasingly rare commodity.


This whole thing has next to nothing to do with sustainable US energy production or independence from foreign oil producers. That's just the spin that the current administration is putting on it, as they are totally for spending our rare and limited environmental resources for any sort of short term gain politically. The whole situation is very similar to this Social Security fix that is being advocated.


So anyway we can all talk about alternative energy sources and our great expenditures of energy, etc... but I believe this is actually quite peripheral to the issue of drilling in the ANWR.

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Interesting idea the sky turbine. Thanks for the link, Dru.


Seems at first blush like it would fall out of the sky (something for nothing like a perpetual motion machine). It would have to be a balance between weight, energy, aerodynamics (drag considerations), and structural integrity (at lowest possible weight). It would have to be like a kite in structure (to catch the wind) for purposes of keeping it up there with light-weight turbines taking in the additional energy to feed to the ground. Because simply having turbines up there and taking some of the turbine energy and putting it into flight maintainability is not possible (i.e., is a something for nothing scheme).

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Jago River Delta, 8/2001

misc junk.


edit: oh yeah, I forgot the "why". I don't know exactly why, but could take a guess...



from this web page:

"Another effort involved developing a system of resupply for the widely separated and remote sites. Most were not located on a road network and could only be reached by waterways during summer months. Initially, the military handled the deliveries. The first major resupply effort began in 1951, when a fleet of vessels departed the Port of Seattle. By 1953, the annual effort had reached the point where it earned a name, Mona Lisa, later changed to Cool Barge. "


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So now:

How big is the delta? How much of it was littered with these barrels? Did you spot the barrels and drop down to them specifically or are they everywhere and just happened to be where you landed?

In short, what conclusions do you want us to draw from your pictures? And are those conclusions based on generalizations or specifics?


***I'm playing devil's advocate here. I agree the barrels are unsightly (I get turned off by the minutest piece of candy wrapper trash in the woods).***

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