Time to Responsibly Develop ANWR for Vital Domestic Oil Supplies

1 05 2008

The competing perspectives on how the U.S. should deal with its energy situation are no more evident than right now. People with presuppositions leaning toward environmental activism and looming global warming / climate change catastrophe strongly resist almost any type of energy development in this county, whether it be nuclear, coal, oil… — even at times wind and bioenergy sources…regardless of the economic and national security costs to present and future generations of Americans. The only solution these groups will support is apparently energy conservation in the form of reduced energy consumption in cars, etc. To only deal with the energy demand side of the equation is an incomplete and unnecessarily restricted couse of action to address the problem. The government policy / regulatory tools espoused by these well-intentioned but misguided groups amount to taxes on profits of energy companies (the same profits that would go toward energy development and the development energy efficient technologies), schemes of carbon footprint “penalties” or “taxes” upon entities they judge to be carbon producers (which amount to income transfers to the federal government), and similar actions that seek to limit energy production and use without ever suggesting anything that actually produces more energy (increasing the supply). These groups used to support the production of bionergy, but have “turn tail and run” now that some criticism of bioenergy is emerging due to food price inflation (which bioenergy development is a contributor to but not the primary cause of).

The Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) can be responsibly developed to supply the U.S. with oil for decades into the future. See the following site for factual information on ANWR and how it can be responsibly developed…


Following are 10 reasons for development of ANWR quoted from the www.anwr.org site:

Top ten reasons to support ANWR development

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Arctic Winter Exploration
Arctic Winter Exploration

1. Only 8% of ANWR Would Be Considered for Exploration Only the 1.5 million acre or 8% on the northern coast of ANWR is being considered for development. The remaining 17.5 million acres or 92% of ANWR will remain permanently closed to any kind of development. If oil is discovered, less than 2000 acres of the over 1.5 million acres of the Coastal Plain would be affected. That¹s less than half of one percent of ANWR that would be affected by production activity.

2. Revenues to the State and Federal Treasury Federal revenues would be enhanced by billions of dollars from bonus bids, lease rentals, royalties and taxes. Estimates on bonus bids for ANWR by the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Interior for the first 5 years after Congressional approval are $4.2 billion. Royalty and tax estimates for the life of the 10-02 fields were estimated by the Office of Management and Budget from $152-237 billion.

3. Jobs To Be Created Between 250,000 and 735,000 ANWR jobs are estimated to be created by development of the Coastal Plain.

4. Economic Impact Between 1977 and 2004, North Slope oil field development and production activity contributed over $50 billion to the nations economy, directly impacting each state in the union.

5. America’s Best Chance for a Major Discovery The Coastal Plain of ANWR is America’s best possibility for the discovery of another giant “Prudhoe Bay-sized” oil and gas discovery in North America. U.S. Department of Interior estimates range from 9 to 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

6. North Slope Production in Decline The North Slope oil fields currently provide the U.S. with nearly 16% of it’s domestic production and since 1988 this production has been on the decline. Peak production was reached in 1980 of two million barrels a day, but has been declining to a current level of 731,000 barrels a day.

7. Imported Oil Too Costly In 2007, the US imported an average of 60% of its oil and during certain months up to 64%. That equates to over $330 billion in oil imports. That’s $37.75 million per hour gone out of our economy! Factor in the cost to defend our imported oil, and the costs in jobs and industry sent abroad, the total would be nearly a trillion dollars.

8. No Negative Impact on Animals Oil and gas development and wildlife are successfully coexisting in Alaska ‘s arctic. For example, the Central Arctic Caribou Herd (CACH) which migrates through Prudhoe Bay has grown from 3000 animals to its current level of 32,000 animals. The arctic oil fields have very healthy brown bear, fox and bird populations equal to their surrounding areas.

9. Arctic Technology Advanced technology has greatly reduced the ‘footprint” of arctic oil development. If Prudhoe Bay were built today, the footprint would be 1,526 acres, 64% smaller.

10. Alaskans Support More than 75% of Alaskans favor exploration and production in ANWR. The democratically elected Alaska State Legislatures, congressional delegations, and Governors elected over the past 25 years have unanimously supported opening the Coastal Plain of ANWR. The Inupiat Eskimos who live in and near ANWR support onshore oil development on the Coastal Plain.


Anti-ANWR development leaders such as Charles Schumer, Senator from New York, make an unsubstantiate claim that the oil supplies from ANWR would be very limited, and likely of short duration and insignificant in supplying U.S. energy needs. These arguments are unsubstantiated (see www.anwr.org) see the following information.

How much oil is in ANWR?

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Coastal Plain of ANWR
Coastal Plain of ANWR

Geologists agree that the Coastal Plain has the nation’s best geologic prospects for major new onshore oil discoveries. According to the Department of Interior’s 1987 resource evaluation of ANWR’s Coastal Plain, there is a 95% chance that a ‘super field’ with 500 million barrels would be discovered. DOI also estimates that there exists a mean of 3.5 billion barrels, and a 5% chance that a large Prudhoe Bay type discovery would be made.

High potential. The high potential for significant discoveries of oil and gas in ANWR has long been recognized. Early explorers of the region at the turn of the century, found oil seeps and oil-stained sands. However, since ANWR was established in 1960, exploration in the region has been restricted to surface geological investigations, aeromagnetic surveys, and two winter seismic surveys (in 1983-84 and 1984-85). No exploratory drilling has been accomplished in the area except for one well commenced in the winter of 1984-85 on Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation lands southeast of Kaktovik on the Coastal Plain.

Location to big finds. Although little oil and gas exploration has taken place in ANWR, the Coastal Plain is believed to have economically recoverable oil resources. The Coastal Plain lies between two known major discovery areas. About 65 miles to the west of the Coastal Plain, the Prudhoe Bay, Lisburne, Endicott, Milne Point, and Kuparuk oil fields are currently in production. Approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil a day are produced from these fields, representing 25% of our domestic production. To the east of the Coastal Plain, major discoveries have been made in Canada, near the Mackenzie River Delta and in the Beaufort Sea.

U.S. Geological Survey – 1980. In 1980, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the Coastal Plain could contain up to 17 billion barrels of oil and 34 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

U.S. Department of Interior – 1987. After several years of surface geological investigations, aeromagnetic surveys, and two winter seismic surveys (in 1983-84 and 1984-85), the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI), in its April, 1987 report on the oil and gas potential of the Coastal Plain, estimated that there are billions of barrels of oil to be discovered in the area. DOI estimates that “in-place resources” range from 4.8 billion to 29.4 billion barrels of oil. Recoverable oil estimates ranges from 600 million barrels at the low end to 9.2 billion barrels at the high end. They also reported identifying 26 separate oil and gas prospects in the Coastal Plain that could each contain “super giant” fields (500 million barrels or more).

U.S. Geological Survey � 1998. The most recent petroleum assessment prepared by the USGS in 1998 (OFR 98-34), increased the estimate for technically recoverable mean crude oil resources. (See Oil in the ANWR? It�s Time to Find Out!)

Only drilling will tell. The geologic indicators are very favorable for the presence of significant oil and gas resources in ANWR, but the limited data means that there is a high level of uncertainty about how much oil and gas may be present. Consequently, current estimates represent the best scientific guesses. However, most geologists agree that the potential is on the order of billions of barrels of recoverable oil and trillions of cubic feet of recoverable gas and that these resources may rival or exceed the initial reserves at Prudhoe Bay. The validity of these estimates can be proved only by drilling exploratory wells. Authorization for exploration must be given by Congress and the President.

In 1996 the North Slope oil fields produced about 1.5 million barrels of oil per day, or approximately 25 percent of the U.S. domestic production. However, Prudhoe Bay, which accounts for over half of North Slope production, began its decline in 1988, and no new fields have yet been discovered with the potential to compensate for that decline.


Reasoned, objective, responsible reasons exist to develop the oil supplies available to the U.S. in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge. This issue has become an article of faith among many pro-environmentalists -regardless of the real world consequences. To date it has been a triumph of emotion over reason that the U.S. has so limited its energy development.  Realistic, yet respectful, God honoring voices need to enter into the debate to come up with workable solutions.

The lack of objective responsibility among governmental leaders in regard to energy development has to be a major issue in upcoming elections for the state and national offices. The future economic sustainability and frankly, our national security depends on the election of responsible, conservative leadership in the U.S.





One response

21 06 2008
Scott Starr

Many believers and Christians today have an underdeveloped knowledge of proper theology and proper biblical concept. It seems that they are guided more by political ideology rather than by sound biblical teaching. When discussing the purpose for the creation and existence of mankind and/or studying the book of Genesis and the creation story people do not seem to have a clear understanding of the purpose for man or of the rest of creation that ties it all together. I have heard the point made many times that God created man to glorify Himself. This is true. Yet if we do not understand or cannot explain fully what that means- we cannot really worship effectively or witness to other people effectively.

If we say to the unbeliever or potential believer, “God just likes to be worshipped,” and do not explain more fully, the listener may well go away guffawing because it could be said that what you have just described is a psychotic egomaniac- a God that has created an entire reality just so he can have someone to give him flattery and adulation. The truth is that there is far more to the concept of worship than this. Also, when teaching doesn’t cover this point with sound and thorough explanation it sends believers out ill- equipped to answer tough questions from the world.

So what is the purpose of mankind and all life, of all creation and of worship?

There are many verses throughout the Bible that proclaim the purpose for the creation of the cosmos. Simply put, all creation was made to glorify and reveal God. God created the Earth and mankind to reveal himself throughout the universe, to share himself with and through life and to commune with and through mankind and the rest of his creation. God made man special… with a special place and purpose in creation… to tend and take care of his garden and to be holy. Most people that are familiar with Judeo-Christian tradition know the rest of the story… man rebelled. Yet God’s original purpose for man and the rest of the cosmos is still intact, in force and has been reconciled by Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:18-20 says this:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Colossians 1:15-20 says this:

The Supremacy of Christ

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Now let us clarify what worship is. Worship is not meant to be a groveling, flattering experience for man to kiss the feet of a God who needs adulation. Worship has the same purpose that man and all of the rest of creation has- that is to commune with God… to share in God’s presence… to participate with God. Worship is as much for man as for God. Worship is a gift from God for man to share in his presence and his glory, to commune and to experience holiness and be joined together in spirit and in truth.

Jesus himself, the King of all Creation (Col. 1:15-20), spoke these words to a Samaritan woman he encountered at a community well:

John 4:23-24

23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

Living a life of spirituality that is grounded in truth is worship. Worship is not supposed to be relegated to the few hours a week that we sit in a Church pew. In a sense, all life, all creation, is supposed to exist as worship.

I am always amazed at the resistance and debate that I get when I assert the Christian, people- perhaps even moreso than others, actually do have a role and responibilty to play in the maintenace of the natural world… AKA “the environment”. Too many Christians in my view, have made “the environment” something abstract… something that is “out there” separate from themselves and from God and something thus inconsequential to our walk as Christians and our concerns as men. It is true “the environment” is for mankind to be in stewardship over and for us to use. Yet, how are we to “be fruitful and multiply” if we do not acknowledge, understand and accept the full purpose God has charged us with in the Earth? Caring for the Earth and worshipfully observing our purpose ordained by God also enables us to better love our neighbors and maintain public health, to be witnesses for God’s purposes and better commune prayerfully with God.

How is it that Christians have allowed themselves to be distracted and deterred from this vital role we are meant to play by terms like “tree hugger”? Would you like to see the Church grow and like to see all those “environmental wackos” out there converted to people using their passions for enlarging the Kingdom of God? Then I think its time for the Church to rediscover this aspect of God’s intent for his people and include it as part of a Godly, balanced worldview. We are not talking about becoming environmental activists or engaging in godless naturalism here.

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