The Washington Post fails to explain what makes the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge any more ‘pristine’ than the rest of Alaska, but the rest of their editorial exposing the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund’s ‘Snake Oil‘ on offshore drilling is well worth the read. The Post counters three NRDC ‘truths’ including:
- Drilling is pointless because the United States has only 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves. This is a misleading because it refers only to known oil reserves. … In the case of the Atlantic Ocean, the data were collected before Congress imposed a moratorium on offshore drilling in 1981. In 1987, the MMS estimated that there were 9 billion barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. By 2006, after major advances in seismic technology and deepwater drilling techniques, the MMS resource estimate for that area had ballooned to 45 billion barrels.
- The oil companies aren’t using the leases they already have. … The notion that oil companies are just sitting on oil leases is a myth. With oil prices still above $100 a barrel, that charge never made sense.
- Drilling is environmentally dangerous. … According to the MMS, between 1993 and 2007, there were 651 spills of all sizes at OCS facilities (in federal waters three miles or more offshore) that released 47,800 barrels of oil. With 7.5 billion barrels of oil produced in that time, that equates to 1 barrel of oil spilled per 156,900 barrels produced. … Besides, if it is acceptable to drill in the Caspian Sea and in developing countries such as Nigeria where environmental concerns are equally important, it’s hard to explain why the United States should rule out drilling off its own coasts.