FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Now is the Time to Pass an ANWR Bill
In 1995, the Republican-controlled House and Senate passed a balanced budget act, which contained a provision to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil drilling and exploration. On December 6th of that year, President Bill Clinton vetoed the bill, ensuring that not a drop of oil would be extracted from the barren land of this 20 million acre area. We have literally been paying for this veto for the past 15 years.
This gargantuan frozen tundra in the northeast corner of Alaska contains the most oil of any single untapped source within the borders of the U.S. According to the mean average estimate of the U.S. Geological Survey, there are at least 10.3 billion barrels of oil in ANWR. Most of this oil can be tapped through a drilling imprint of just 2,000 acres, or .01%, of the reserve area. In addition, there is an estimated 35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in ANWR. Only an insidious gang of politicians hell-bent on undermining our national security, economic prosperity, and free market capitalism, could be so intransigent to impound this treasure from the American people.
Yet, for the past 15 years, a truculent group of Democrats, along with a handful of liberal Republicans in the Senate, has prevented another ANWR bill from making its way to the president’s desk. Now, with Obama behind the desk, he has promised to block any effort to drill in ANWR, the Outer Continental Shelf, the Rockies, and much of the Gulf coast. It is high time that we issue a direct challenge to Obama and quell his war on energy independence and productivity.
In 2006, Mike Pence suggested that the Republicans in the House pass an ANWR bill every week. Now that the GOP is in charge of that body, they should immediately fast track a bill to unlock this barren land of energy bounty and bring it to an ‘up or down vote’ under a closed rule on the House floor. Let the Democrats stand before the American people at a time when a lack of oil and gas has inflated the cost of gasoline, electricity, food, and many vital products that must be transported at a gratuitously high price. Let them regurgitate their fatuous lies about the reproductive life of the caribou while their constituents are languishing from the high energy prices that they have so blithely promoted. Ultimately, we have the votes to crush their resistance anyway.
What about the Senate and President Obama? Well, the Senate Democrats are confronted with potentially their worst election cycle in modern history. They must defend 23 seats in 2012, eight being in Bush red states and a bunch more in critical swing states that can easily flip. The Republicans, on the other hand, will only face serious challenges in one or two states. In addition, there are several other senators who aren’t up for election in 2012, but have publicly declared their support for increased oil drilling. Alaska Democrat Mark Begich is one of the staunchest supporters of ANWR, a clear reflection of its popularity back home among Alaskans and local lawmakers. The people of Alaska are rightly looking at North Dakota and its diminutive 3.9% unemployment rate with envy.
Let’s call their bluff and hang ANWR around their necks as a political albatross for the 2012 elections. Mitch McConnell needs to force an up or down vote on ANWR, much like he did with ObamaCare. With gasoline and utility prices soaring, we’ll see if Democrats have the same bravado to embrace the true label of “the party of no”.
Democrats will undoubtedly reiterate their ignorance of market forces by declaring ANWR to be but a drop in the bucket, an inconsequential solution to high energy prices. The American people are all too painfully aware of how slight fluctuations in supply and demand in a tight market can seriously affect the price at the pump. Libya exported approximately 1.5 million barrels per day before the start of their civil war, and yet the cessation of that production alone has induced one of the most precipitous spikes in oil prices in recent memory. If Democrats would cease their bondage over ANWR, we would have the ability to pump 1.5 million barrels per day for the next 20 years. The commencement of the drilling operation alone would have an immediate effect on gas prices in such a sensitive market.
Furthermore, we have seen the ‘experts’ underestimate the size of oil reserves throughout the world on a regular basis. Last year, The Heritage Foundation observed that the Department of Energy keeps revising their estimate of oil reserves upwards on an annual basis. The reality is that new technologies and innovation in drilling and exploration have resulted in more oil discoveries and better efficiency in its extraction. Sadly, the Democrats are too scared of being proven wrong to acquiesce to a drilling revolution. They also fear that unlike their impotent energy sources of wind, solar, ethanol, grass, and woodchips, oil and gas exploration would actually stave off a reality of European style gas prices.
ANWR should be the first salvo in our counteroffensive against the Democrats’ war on oil. We must eventually fight for expanded drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), the fifty states, and the Gulf of Mexico. It’s time for Republicans to launch a full scale assault on the energy hostage takers within the government. Fifteen years of holding our oil and gas exploration hostage is enough.
We are fighting for energy independence, job creation, national security, and the American way of life. Oil is a gift from God and is the bloodline of our economic freedom and prosperity . Republicans need to muster the courage to pass ANWR immediately. The American people are supporting us on this issue. If the Democrats continue to obstruct our energy development, we need to sever their bloodline in 2012; political power.
Cross-posted to Red Meat Conservative