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Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Drilling ANWR and the new energy bill -  

The energy bill currently circulating in the Senate has already been roundly derided by Gregg Easterbrook:

But overall the energy bill is a huge disappointment, 1,700 pages devoted to maintaining the status quo and indefinitely postponing every important energy-policy decision.

Gregg faults the bill for avaoiding anything either the left or the right disagree with (e.g. drilling ANWR, offshore drilling of natural gas, higher MPG standards for trucks and SUVS and long term actions to combat global warming ) and suggests that we need all of those things. This is convenient, and awfully centrist of him, but incorrect. Gregg writes:

ANWR exploration will help us be ready in case international petroleum disruption happens again.

In order for this to be true drilling ANWR would have to enable to the US to not just reduce oil imports but to, more or less, avoid it. However, an analysis by the World Resources Insitute based on projections of the oil available in ANWR by the U.S. Geological Survey and projections of petroleum consumption by the Department of Energy suggest that this just ain't so. Based on this analysis even drilling ANWR would still require the US to import something like 30% of its oil. Clearly if geopolitics cause 30% of oil to evaporate you, I and every other driver in our nation of drivers will feel it at the pump.

Which is all by way of saying a.) this is a bad bill b.) what are we going to do about it? The answer to b.) (nod to Matt Yglesias at TAPPED) is fillibuster. There seem to be several Republicans willing to go along so what's the hold up? In a strange case of Our Take congruence Matt argues that its the same farm subsidies Geoffrey already faulted below for entirely different reasons.
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