March 17, 2005

The Nuclear Option, also ANWR question for readers who are green

from - smijer

RTB newcomer, Open Your Mind, has the full text of Harry Reid's letter to Tennessean, Bush sycophant, Senate majority leader, Bill Frist. Give 'em hell, Harry. Reid, by the way, mentions that Democratic senators represent "millions" of Americans, despite being in the minority of senators. What he left out was that Democratic senators actually represent the majority of Americans. If California and New York got as many senators as Idaho and Wyoming, the Senate would be Democratic. That's not a complaint... just a fact. In this case, Democratic "obstructionism" against the most radical judicial nominations serves to protect the interests of a majority that happen to have minority representation. Reid's point is still sound: the Senate's rules (without the nuclear option) should be kept intact in order to protect the interests of an actual minority.

Let's call the nuclear option by its proper name: a power grab.
Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Neal Boortz.

Follow up... Normally one can safely find the truth by taking the opposite point of view as the one espoused by Boortz, but just to be safe, I like to get a second opinion from time to time. Today, Neal made a lot of dubious claims about the ANWR provision in the Senate bill. Now, I'm ignoring claims about how many years we could run NY or GA on ANWR's oil... Even if those claims are based on current demand (probably), that's still a piffling amount of oil in my view. Leave aside, also, the claim that "who knows?" maybe there will be even more oil produced there than estimated, based on anecdotal evidence from Prudhoe Bay. Leave aside especially the comedic claims about the "real" sinister agenda of America-hating liberals. The one question I have is this: is he possibly, accidentally, correct in his claim that environmentalists are exaggerating the impact of ANWR drilling? Is he correct in claiming that the piece of tundra that would be opened for ANWR drilling is not such important property? That it is not the "beautiful", pristine part of ANWR? That the caribou will be no more likely to suffer from drilling than they were in Pruhoe Bay?

If I knew that Boortz was fabricating or blowing smoke on this, I would call him out in a heartbeat. And goodness knows I don't give him the benefit of the doubt on it... but is there anyone who can show us a concrete scientific basis for environmentalists' objections to drilling there?

For the record, I think it's ludicrous that the Republicans are putting all their stock in drilling ANWR, as though this give-away to Big Oil will actually have a measurable impact on our long-term energy needs... But if they are right, and the environmental impact will be minimal, why not let them win that battle? On the other hand, if they are wrong... I'll be glad join and promote the boycott. I just want to know which side is really on firmer scientific ground. Anybody?


Posted by smijer at March 17, 2005 04:31 PM

Well let me giv you some numbers to think about. Boortz is full of crap. I'll use his number 10.7 billion. We use 23 million barrals per day currently. thats 8.4 billion barrels per year. even if the estimates are off by 100% that means that the supply of oil in ANWR represent about 2.5 years.

I have a few more numbers in this post.

univar.jpg Posted by Rick DeMent on March 19, 2005 10:00 AM
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I'm sorry that would be 2.3 million per day.

univar.jpg Posted by Rick DeMent on March 19, 2005 10:01 AM
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Sorry again 23 million per day, I should not type first thin in the morning.

univar.jpg Posted by Rick DeMent on March 19, 2005 10:04 AM
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Rick, I understand that the amount of oil we expect to get from ANWR is nothing compared to long-term demand... My question is about the environmental impact. If the R's are right that the environmental impact will be minimal, what's the harm in letting them go ahead and pump? Their cronies get their pockets full, the Caribou don't notice a difference, and we are able to fight our battles over war, torture, poverty, and mercury in the water in Los Angeles. Aren't those fights more important than fighting over whether and when to drill ANWR, unless there is a real potential for environmental impact?

univar.jpg Posted by smijer on March 19, 2005 10:08 AM
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The harm is that we are draining one of our two remaining reserves of cheap oil. When it is gone we will be even more beholden to ME oil ministers. And it won't make us one iota less dependent on imports. I fleshed this out a bit here:

I will do a few things that have nothing to do with energy independance.

univar.jpg Posted by Rick DeMent on March 19, 2005 11:41 AM
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