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Drlling ANWR is Not the Answer
by kirk   September 26, 2006

anwr Regarding drilling for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the facts are on the table and, no matter which argument you hear, or how you look at it, there are alternative sources of renewable fuels and more efficient and environmentally conscious fuels. These fuels are as reliable and would require equal (or lesser) amounts of development and offer a greater stability to our economic future.

We have all heard the argument by now that ANWR is going to take 10 years to drill and to build adequate pipelines for use, and, depending upon how you look at the numbers, it could be said there's only about 2 years worth of oil up there anyway. However, I'll refrain as much as possible from rehashing those commonly contentious arguments, because I am quite certain there's a way to resolve this diplomatically.

First I must say I'm from North Dakota. We don't have much going for our economy right now, so maybe I'm biased, but I believe alternative energies will play a great role in our future. Up here in the Great White North we could stand a good dose of funding for alternative energies for use in harvesting, manufacturing, transporting, processing -- you name it. What do we have you ask? Wind! I'm not speaking of the kind Grampa gives you when you pull his finger! I'm talking renewable energies, baby! And, we've got corn and flax and all sorts of land, which equals bio-diesel and ethanol and potentially even hydrogen! Land for research and testing and renewable energy!

So, back to the question of drilling in Alaska on a national Wildlife Refuge: why the hell are we wasting our time debating?

I will say, I do believe the fault is on both sides. We all know Republicans are as guilty as a young tween in Tom's Coin shop looking at dirty mags for pushing such an obvious political, quick-fix economic agenda which includes plans to drill ANWR. That's is an old argument and I'm somewhat embarrassed to even bring it up. There are any number of good arguments against drilling: safety of wildlife and cost versus actual benefit, even if you actually believe that drilling will bring new jobs and lower the cost of fuel.

Yet, Dems must own up to this BS, too! Dems are equally at fault for debating semantics cooked up by what looks to be special interests constituencies, rather than promoting potentially highly profitable alternatives and new technologies, all of which could give a boost to the economy, especially up here in my homeland! One thing I hope to see is an effort to slow the drilling in Alaska by making sure the taxes of those who profit from it the most feed back into programs that promote alternative energies, while creating incentives for those who utilize the alternatives. I think it's fair to say that filibustering ain't gonna work with this administration, especially when it comes to oil!

As media sound-bites go, those arguing against drilling are sending out the wrong message. Dems need to really shore up their efforts and make sure the microphone is on and the little red light is blinking on the camera before speaking, and then speak in easy to understand terms. Using ivy-league language and complex semantics is completely losing us less educated folk (who they claim to desire as voters). Speaking as someone from farm country where everyone votes Democratic for Senator, then Republican for President, it is frustrating to hear our own Senators spouting Republican rhetoric on TV. Clearly, though it's the Rural Energy groups in their early stages of progress that lose when attention is shifted from practical ideas to environmental concerns that are "Hollywood" in their language and perceived support.

Those Senators fighting the brave cause of saving the Wildlife Refuge need to draw out the benefits of not drilling in Alaska, rather than only trying to frighten us with the potential damage drilling in ANWAR could cause. Creating strong talking points explaining the alternatives will more effectively develop what we really need, and that is a plan for alternative fuels and economic help for those who want to be the first to develop them.

It's not only North Dakota that has a lot at stake in this debate, we all do. But, when we look at how much impact we could have on the farm states, specifically farm towns, which are steadily declining in population, and whose people find themselves increasingly in bankruptcy court, if we replaced the arguably abused subsidies farmers and oil companies are receiving now with incentives and subsidies to produce alternative energies -- incentives supported by those, as I said, who profit from the oil industry. Wind energy may allow us the potential to create hydrogen fuel in the near future. Bio fuels are already making great strides and naturally, would benefit this region a great deal. Solar and other sources are worth studying as well.

Sure, I think it's a shame to drill on a wildlife refuge, and I certainly don't buy the argument that it's not affecting the wildlife, but if the Dems refocus their points of debate, I believe we just convince people around here. In the end, it's not "them" versus "us." It's just reality versus a quick fix which may or may not lower gas prices for a while. Personally, I don't mind paying a little more for a gallon of gas for now, especially knowing there could be great future ahead, and that my home state could play a large role in that future.

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