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May 14, 2002
11:26 AM   Subscribe

The best even-handed treatment I've seen of the ANWR controversy appeared in the May 13th issue of Sports Illustrated (Sorry, no link to the article, but my summary and other helpful links inside).
posted by Sean Meade (11 comments total)

 
(The quality of writing at SI is very high, whether you like the subject matter or not. Their outside perspective may have helped to de-politicize this article. I still don't know why it was in SI. The focus sure wasn't hunting, though that was the introduction.)

Please feel free to help me with links. Beside the one below, here's the Google search for ANWR.
Salient points:

The Wall Street Journal called ANWR a 'moonscape', which it is not.

There are many good economic reasons not to drill. The nonpartisan Rocky Mountain Institute says drilling 'could not be justified on economic...grounds.' You have to get at least 16$ a barrel, which is not a sure bet.

There might be 80 B$ in there, which could be taken out of our trade deficit. It would also generate several B$ in federal and state taxes.

ANWR oil will not reduce our foreign oil dependency appreciably. ANWR could probably only supply 3.2 B barrels, only a 166-day supply for the US.

If cars, SUVs, and light trucks became 4 mpg more efficient, it would be equivalent to developing an oil field 10 times the size of ANWR.

The real clincher, as the article points out, is what do the people of Alaska want, especially the Natives? Many want the much expanded quality of living that oil money brings. In my mind, it's hard to refuse them the right to exploit the resources available to them.

The article closes with a pitch for saving ANWR. That's not necessarily my conclusion. Sure it's beautiful, and that counts for a lot. But it's not the priority claim. And it can't be proven that massive damage would be done, or that species would be endangered. If the people who live there want the income, I find it hard to refuse on the grounds of evironmental claims which are not absolute.
posted by Sean Meade at 11:27 AM on May 14, 2002


Ooh, boy. I would have loved to have read a good discussion about the whole ANWR topic, kicked off by a timely and interesting link to a site about it, but I'm afraid this wasn't the way to start it off.
posted by yhbc at 11:30 AM on May 14, 2002


The real clincher, as the article points out, is what do the people of Alaska want, especially the Natives?

Except that it doesn't belong to the people of Alaska. It's the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

I can't address what the Natives want. But I wonder, if they asked the U.S. government to give back all of the land they once inhabited, would we call that "the real clincher"?
posted by nathanstack at 11:40 AM on May 14, 2002


i guess possession is, technically, 9/10ths of the law.

on the other hand, some of these Native Americans live in ANWR and have for some time (*end understatement*). do they get a say? that's part of what this article addresses. i've summarized it. sorry it's not on the web.

i think there's something here to start with. anybody care to build on it, instead of just criticizing?
posted by Sean Meade at 11:49 AM on May 14, 2002


MeTa
posted by signal at 12:45 PM on May 14, 2002


Ah, no doubt this thread, like wildlife in the ANWR, is in massive danger of extinction, but who can resist...

And it can't be proven that massive damage would be done, or that species would be endangered.

Yeah, that eighteen inches of tar underneath the sand and gravel at Prince William Sound is actually beneficial to marine life. And sure, the Exxon Valdez may have wiped out whole Native American fisheries with that one little mistake, but at least it provided people with jobs.

Like blotting crude oil from beaches with Maxipads.

The article closes with a pitch for saving ANWR. That's not necessarily my conclusion. Sure it's beautiful, and that counts for a lot. But it's not the priority claim.

No, I'm sure you're correct. The "rights" of dunces to cruise at 85 mph in multi-ton SUVs are paramount.

Oh, you mean the priority claim of Native Americans? Funny how their supposed wishes neatly coincide with the wishes of oil executives and shareholders, who are the ones who'll really get a boost in their standard of living. Funny how oil companies would suddenly start clamoring for the sovereign rights of Native peoples, after having raped them for generations. Guess they suddenly just developed consciences, eh?

But oh, you asked for us to "build on it" instead of just criticizing. Ok. If Big Oil's real goal is helping out our Native friends (oh, such altruists we in business be!), here's my suggestion:

Give Exxon to ANWR's Native Americans and offer to relocate them all to Houston.

Everyone wins. No doubt the Native's will run Exxon better than the typical inbred, knee-pad morons who run most businesses, the ANWR will be saved (actually, the environmental protection of wilderness IS always the paramount concern), and some of our Native friends will receive a miniscule portion of the reimbursement that is rightly theirs.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:51 PM on May 14, 2002


actually, the environmental protection of wilderness IS always the paramount concern

Wrongo, F&M (I keep thinking you're a mason when I type that). The paramount concern is the welfare and well-being of our species. If that coincides with the environment, so be it. But, where it doesn't --- I side with my species.

That's what all the other species are doing, and it is the only ENVIRONMENTALLY CORRECT thing to do.
posted by dwivian at 1:30 PM on May 14, 2002


Whales and dolphins are not essential to our species survival either, so why don’t we just hunt and kill them all? They are probably tasty and we could relieve some debt by selling their oil to the cosmetic companies.
posted by Iax at 1:45 PM on May 14, 2002


ok. this attempt obviously didn't elicit any useful discussion. i'll file it under 'gave it a try.'
posted by Sean Meade at 2:39 PM on May 14, 2002


hey. thanks for the post... ill look for the article in it unlikely spot - cant say i spend much time reading sports illustrator.

i agree - a link would have been nice for the FPP - but thanks anyway.
posted by specialk420 at 2:54 PM on May 14, 2002


Whales and dolphins are not essential to our species survival either,

Nobody ever said things had to be essential. But, let's let you blather a bit -- do you have proof they aren't essential?

so why don’t we just hunt and kill them all? They are probably tasty and we could relieve some debt by selling their oil to the cosmetic companies.

Well, if they are tasty, and can relieve debt, they should be farmed. That would prohibit killing them all, as it wouldn't be good, economically.

Had you said "cockroaches aren't essential to our species survival, so why don't we kill them all? They have no meaningful existence, and won't be missed", I might have accepted your point. Problem is, you went for the warm fuzzy creature, instead of the ugly insect. If you can't win with facts..... well, emotion is always the tool of the evangelist.
posted by dwivian at 7:04 AM on May 15, 2002


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