Great article at the American Spectator outlining a Congressional field trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR. The environmental lobby has sucessfully prevented oil extraction in the ANWR for over 30 years, most notably by arguing that the area's a beautiful pristine mountain wilderness and that oil production would harm native wildlife such as the caribou herds. However, the ANWR is a huge tract of land, and while beautiful mountains make up quite a bit of it, the section known as 10-02, where oil extraction has been proposed, is NOT one of them. Instead, this area is a swampy tundra on the northern coastal plain abutting the Arctic Ocean.
"At about 19.5 million acres, ANWR is the size of the state of South Carolina. Located in Alaska's northeast corner and stretching from that state's northern coast along the frigid Arctic Ocean to two hundred miles south, ANWR includes a broad spectrum of Alaskan wilderness. The spectacular geography of the southern three-quarters of ANWR is offset by the flat, barren and desolate northern slope along the coast. The two contrasting landscapes are separated by the Brooks Mountain Range running east and west. The section of ANWR known as Area 10-02 is about 1.2 million acres in size and includes a sliver of about 2,000 acres identified for oil extraction."
But I digress, the article goes on to note the 7 Congress critters that went to Alaska and visited not only the ANWR, but Prudhoe Bay, where 750,000 barrels of oil a day is still being produced, and found the area being utilized in a very careful and well thought out manner, with no serious environmental impact. They also visited the locals, and found them extremely in favor of further drilling, as is the State's Governor Sarah Palin.
So why aren't we drilling and producing oil from 10-02 - oh yeah, Bill Clinton vetoed the idea in 1996.