A while back I filled out the little form for NRDC’s letter-writing campaign to save the Arctic Refuge. It sends a message to your Congressman, urging them oppose oil and gas development in the region. It’s probably the tenth one of those things I’ve submitted regarding the refuge. (It’s so easy; just type in your email and click “send.” No thought involved.) I often question the usefulness of online campaigns and the implications of such mindless “citizen participation,” but that’s probably a subject for another post. Point here is, today I received a response from my representative, one Mr. Don “They can kiss my ear” Young (R – Alaska). Full contents of letter below the fold.

Dear Mr. McKrill:

Thank you for writing to express your opinion on opening ANWR to oil and gas exploration and development. I appreciate you taking the time to share your views on this matter.

Opening ANWR will benefit all the residents of Alaska, and contribute to America’s energy security. The oil and gas industry creates thousands of good jobs for Alaskans, and pays taxes that enable the State Legislature and Governor to build new schools, hospitals, roads, and to provide vital public services. Just as importantly, oil produced from ANWR could replace oil that we have had to buy from other countries for many decades. This would vastly improve our nation’s strategic and economic position by decreasing our need for foreign oil imports. Had ANWR been opened when it was first proposed, it would now be producing an amount of domestic oil almost equal to what was stopped due to hurricane damage in the Gulf region.

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Alaskans have shown they can develop oil in the arctic in an environmentally responsible manner. For example, there are six times as many caribou in the Prudhoe Bay oil fields as when oil development began in the 1970’s. With the use of new technology and proper regulation, the environmental impacts of opening ANWR can be kept to a minimum.

In recent years, Congress has deadlocked on a comprehensive energy policy. The situation only worsens – oil is now around $57 a barrel and average Alaskan gas prices are fifty cents a gallon higher than they were a year ago. We must thoroughly address our nation’s energy needs, including opening ANWR for exploration and development.

Congress is considering legislation that contains many provisions to ensure development occurs without causing a significant adverse effect on ANWR’s fish, wildlife, and habitat. I believed it is a balanced, comprehensive approach. Work is not yet complete on the bill, but I am hopeful that House of Representatives will join the Senate (which voted in favor of opening ANWR in March) in understanding how important ANWR is to our nation’s energy security. It will not be a ‘silver bullet’ to solve all our energy problems, but it represents a significant start.

Once again, I appreciate hearing from you. If you have any questions or comments on this or any other matter, please let me know. Your thoughts and views are always welcome.

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Congressman for All Alaska

As you can see, it uses all the same tired rhetoric of drilling supporters. As a drilling opponent, I could pull out some of my side’s tired rhetoric, but I’m, well, tired of that. As I mentioned in a comment to an earlier ANWR post, it all comes down to whose predictions you want to believe.

What I want to know is, how can you base your country’s energy “security” on a substance that pollutes the environment, starts wars, and is already at peak production? Not a strategy likely to promote “security” of any kind. I see the struggle to protect the Arctic Refuge not so much as trying to save a wilderness area and a herd of caribou, but a referendum on this country’s energy consumption and its pathetic inertia when it comes to changing the status quo.

I guess that’s still a bit of the old rhetoric, but I think it digs a little further below the surface.

My position on drilling in ANWR isn’t anti-growth, it’s anti-stupid.