Don’t drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

By TONY COBB, a member of REP’s Board of Directors

AN HISTORICAL DOCUMENT: Letter to the editor, Baltimore Sun, August 18, 2001


As an ardent supporter of President Bush on a number of other issues, I emphatically urge the U. S. Senate to oppose action by the House to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling for oil.

The refuge was set aside by Republican President Eisenhower a generation ago precisely to protect it. And, contrary to the oil industry’s mythology, drilling in the refuge will not drive down gasoline and heating oil prices or reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Markets set oil prices, and if the prices remain better in Asia that is where Alaskan oil will continue to go. And the less than six months’ supply in the refuge wouldn’t even be available for 10 years.

Increasing auto efficiency standards two miles per gallon can save more oil than we could get from the refuge.

With about 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves, we consume 25 percent of the supply. So we can and must stress conservation.

Proponents of drilling hold that it can be environmentally sensitive. Yet the Prudhoe Bay oil complex currently emits more pollution than Washington.

Any human footprint is destructive. We do not need oil spills, gas flaring and toxic waste in the arctic refuge.