a war on the environment?
February 28, 2002 1:00 PM   Subscribe

a war on the environment? along with his threats to open up ANWAR this appears to be stinging evidence - this quote is too good: "His dad should talk to him."
posted by specialk420 (16 comments total)
his dad and him should be forced to live in a valley downnwind from a sulphur belching grandfathered plant... that'll make ya choke a bit!
posted by dorcas at 1:17 PM on February 28, 2002

Opening up the 1.5 million acres in the Coastal Plain for exploration, you mean.

Out of the 19.5 million acres total in ANWR.

8 million of which are already designated wilderness.

There seems to be a compromise plan afoot to cut the 1.5 million down to 500,000.

I've read somewhere where the total acreage impacted by the proposed drilling would be somewhere around 2,000 acres, I can't remember where, though.

posted by ebarker at 1:44 PM on February 28, 2002

yo barker...

i read an interesting column some months ago in the new york times... a blind alaskan was giving testimony to a congressional panel on anwr (thanks for the spell check).. in it he stated, that most likely he would never visit one of the last truely "pristine" places left on earth.... but the very existence of such a place gave him hope and made him proud to be an alaskan and an american - 2000 acres of drilling for oil in such a place would sort negate the "pristine" nature... would'nt ya think?
posted by specialk420 at 1:59 PM on February 28, 2002

Does anyone have any details of the new proposal for Midwest power plants? It's obvious that the current regulatory environment is horribly broken (you can keep running nasty polluting generators, as long as you don't upgrade them), and at least a few people seem to think it's actually a pretty good idea.
posted by jaek at 2:13 PM on February 28, 2002

specialk420: It's certainly a valid point to consider. I have seen a map of ANWR (and there was no snarkiness in the spelling correction, it was somewhat inadvertent, actually), and the Coastal Plain is up at the top, on the coast (duh) of a body of water (for shipping purposes, I would imagine). The proposed 2,000 acres of that 1.5 million is right on the coast. Then below the rest of it is the whole rest of the 19.5 million acres.

You can argue the negation of the pristine nature, and I would see your point. I don't see it quite that way. And my whole point in rolling out those numbers was that I am surprised by how many people (and I'm not naming any names here at all) think that opening up ANWR means opening up all of ANWR. Not the case.
posted by ebarker at 2:29 PM on February 28, 2002

I seem to remember having read somewhere that the 2000 acres were only going to be counted when something hit the ground(ie, only the area of the legs of the structure and the drill that touched ground would be counted) so that the actual acreage opened up would be more.
posted by ajayb at 2:48 PM on February 28, 2002

I try and ride the the fence on these issues, so I do agree it's important to point out the actual acreage discussed vs. the whole wilderness.

The problem comes when you look at things like the impact of road and infrastructure building, of a (relatively) large increase in population in the area, of spills, etc.

These issues, and many others, have the potential to impact an area much larger than 2000 acres....
posted by jalexei at 2:53 PM on February 28, 2002

well.... this thread was about the departure of the very unhappy EPA administrator... who i am quite sure was no crazed tree hugger to begin with... on the ANWR (no snarkiness assumed :) ) front im wondering how they propose to get the oil out of there... through an extension of the pipeline, that some fool popped a hole in last year with his deer rifle and blew 40,000 gallons of oil over the forever to be stained tundra?
posted by specialk420 at 2:54 PM on February 28, 2002

Heres what I have:
Advancing technology over the last 20 years has reduced the necessary size or "footprint" of drilling operations to less than one-fifth of what was required, say, at Prudhoe Bay. So exploration and production would affect only about 2,000 acres. To put this in perspective, that is an area about one-sixth the size of Dulles Airport near Washington, D.C., and about 0.01 percent of the total area of ANWR. Even in this very limited area, modern sophisticated operations adopt many environmentally sensitive methods which further limit any ecological impact.

So I like to say that it would be all nice and kosher to drill there.

But I have no idea on how much oil could actually be gotten from there. I've seen estimates going from 6 months worth to 30 years worth! Seems to have to do with the cost of actually getting it out, and I think the 6 months come pretty cheap, but to get 30 years worth it would be way expensive. I think.

But when all the other oil places dry up and we need oil... well price be damned I guess.

posted by Keen at 3:14 PM on February 28, 2002

That's a good point, Keen. When we use up the 6 months of oil which is easily accessible, we will still want more, and eventually we will need it and any price will be worth it. And of course, with all that equipment and infrastructure already in place, it will be hard to stop continued expansion when gas pumps are running dry, just fo the sake of environmentalism.
posted by donkeymon at 3:40 PM on February 28, 2002

Which way do the winds blow? Is it too late to move to Canada?
posted by fleener at 4:10 PM on February 28, 2002

My Congressman, Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), says "It is ridiculous to consider drilling in the pristine Alaskan wilderness, when we are shipping Alaskan oil to China and Japan." A precondition of permitting the construction of the Alaska pipeline, imposed by congress, was a ban on the export of Alaskan oil; this ban was lifted in 1995 by Bill Clinton. Alaskan oil is sold at a cheaper price to Asian countries than to refineries on the west coast. The refuge is only the tip of the iceberg...Read More Here.
posted by Mack Twain at 6:46 PM on February 28, 2002

fleener, it's no better in Canada. In fact, in a country almost wholly reliant on natural resources for money, it's worse. We just have more land to hide it in.

The thing about the ANWR is that the original plans called for support structures, roads, etc, right in the middle of a Caribou migration route, and it's one of the last to be untouched by mining, etc... So the concern comes in as to how they make it work with nature.

I think there's a way to let resource industries and oil company's work with nature, but the reason there's so much resistance is because they keep screwing up and lying about it. And while you keep hearing "only 2000 acres, only 2000 acres" it's hard to believe an industry that's done such a terrible job of environmental protection in the past.

I think resignations like this just heighten people's fears that they're being lied to about what drilling in the ANWR and other lax regulations will lead to.
posted by Salmonberry at 7:18 PM on February 28, 2002

Oilmen don't have to touch much of a wilderness to make a lot of it no longer wilderness. Just as a single idiot on a jet ski can disrupt a large lake for man and beast, a single thin road carrying noisy trucks turns everything within sight, smell, and sound into something much less than the "pristine wilderness" ANWR is supposed to remain. Migratory habits change. Mating habits change (and not just among the oilmen). The air fills with pollutants that you might not notice but other animals do.

And of course the chance of an oil spill is not small enough and the results of a spill would be too terrible. It's not worth the gamble, not when there are better options (such as buying smaller cars, driving slower, and driving less).
posted by pracowity at 3:19 AM on March 1, 2002

You know, I have to comment on something. When I first posted my statistics a bit upstream on this thread, I posted them and thought to myself "Okay, there's a chance this may Descend Into Snarkiness." Maybe it was just my mindset at the time, I dunno, and I wasn't posting what I did as a troll. I think I had some negative expectations based on some recent MeFi history.

But you know what? Each one of you proved me wrong. Some excellent points brought up, real food for thought. I'm not saying I've changed my opinion or anything, just that this thread represented the best of MetaFilter to me - smart people of greatly varying opinions discussing something with respect for each other's opinions.

Speech over. Good job, gang. Cookies and milk in the back.
posted by ebarker at 6:51 AM on March 1, 2002

Paul Krugman demolishes the "2000 acres" myth today in the New York Times, using the pro-drilling logic to argue that "my work space occupies only a few square inches of office floor"...
...that picture is a fraud. Development won't be limited to a small enclave: according to the U.S. Geological Survey, oil in ANWR is scattered in many separate pools, so drilling rigs would be spread all across the coastal plain. The roads linking those rigs aren't part of the 2,000 acres: they're not "production and support facilities." And "surface acreage covered" is very narrowly defined: if a pipeline snakes across the terrain on a series of posts, only the ground on which those posts rest counts; bare ground under the pipeline isn't considered "covered."
posted by mattpusateri at 8:57 AM on March 1, 2002

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