On April 17 and 18, 2002, a number of Senators took to the floor of the upper chamber to decry efforts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to fossil fuel exploration and development.
Their objections voiced a common concern: ANWR wouldn’t begin to produce oil for up to ten years. Here’s what some of the Senators had to say:
- “There would be no production out of [ANWR] for at least 7 years.” -Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.)
- “Oil extracted from [ANWR] would not reach refineries for seven to ten years.” -Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
- “No oil will flow from ANWR…until from 7 to 10 years from now.” -Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)
- “Oil exploration in ANWR will not actually start producing oil for as many as 10 years.” -Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
- “Even if we started drilling [in ANWR] tomorrow, the first barrel of crude oil would not make it to the market for at least 10 years.” -Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Ten years later, oil and gas production on federal lands is at a nine-year low, a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline costs an average $3.90, and the president is busy blaming “speculators” for high oil prices – a scapegoat that even a former Democratic Commodity Futures Trading Commissioner rejects. Heritage’s David Kreutzer also debunked that argument.
The president’s continued refusal to expand domestic energy production, which would be an economic boon and raise significant federal revenue without hiking taxes, recently made Heritage’s list of the administration’s ten worst energy policy decisions.
Meanwhile, the excuses offered in opposition to an energy policy that values domestic fossil fuel production look thinner by the day.