Saturday, November 05, 2005

The 2000-acre scam

I can't tie this story to Arcola other than to say that we're oil country, too, and almost all of us drive cars. The few of us who walk for our errands will be even fewer now that the sidewalks are covered in snow and ice. Anyway, another barrier has fallen for the proponents of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Alaska). What amazes me is that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is still talking about the 2000 acres that will be affected as if they were a single block of land.
Drilling supporters note the provision only opens 2,000 acres of the refuge’s 1.5-million acre coastal plain – an area Frist said is “the equivalent to a postage stamp on a tennis court.”
A mist net on a tennis court would be a better analogy. How would that affect your tennis game?

I think the drilling supporters could be honest about this and still get what they want. Matthew Simmons is convinced that we need to find alternatives to petroleum fuels, immediately, but he still supports drilling in the Refuge because of the need to buy some time for transition. I am assuming that, as an industry insider, he would be aware of the reality of those 2000 acres.

As I see it, the drilling will go ahead, but an honest discussion might help some people see the real ecological costs of their own day-to-day choices. A Senator's comments affect more than just the outcome of a Senate vote. Who is going to worry about cutting back on unnecessary car trips, when their leaders are steadily reassuring them that oil development is environmentally benign?

No comments: