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[greenyes] Arctic National Wildflife Refuge Potential
  Like the mounting support for concrete action among a wide array of the 
business community, ANWAR represents another place where the Administration 
actually is only asserting the interests of a small part of industry, and 
that is the very worst of the worst.

    When the wave Mr. Bush is riding crests and crashes, however, all of 
industry risks being tarred with the same brush.

    There has to be another way.


February 21, 2005
Big Oil Steps Aside in Battle Over Arctic

ASHINGTON, Feb. 20 - George W. Bush first proposed drilling for oil in a 
small part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska in 2000, after 
oil industry experts helped his presidential campaign develop an energy 
plan. Five years later, he is pushing the proposal again, saying the nation 
urgently needs to increase domestic production.
But if Mr. Bush's drilling plan passes in Congress after what is expected to 
be a fierce fight, it may prove to be a triumph of politics over geology.
Once allied, the administration and the oil industry are now far apart on 
the issue. The major oil companies are largely uninterested in drilling in 
the refuge, skeptical about the potential there. Even the plan's most 
optimistic backers agree that any oil from the refuge would meet only a tiny 
fraction of America's needs.
While Democrats have repeatedly blocked the drilling plan, many legislators 
believe it has its best chance of passage this year, because of a 
Republican-led White House and Congress and tighter energy supplies. Though 
the oil industry is on the sidelines, the president still has plenty of 
allies. The Alaska Congressional delegation is eager for the revenue and 
jobs drilling could provide. Other legislators favor exploring the refuge 
because more promising prospects, like drilling off the coasts of Florida or 
California, are not politically palatable. And many Republicans hope to 
claim opening the refuge to exploration as a victory in the long-running 
conflict between development interests and environmentalists.
Advocates cite a 1998 government study that estimated the part of the refuge 
proposed for drilling might hold 10 billion barrels of oil. But only one 
test well has been drilled, in the 1980's, and its results are one of the 
industry's most closely guarded secrets.
A Bush adviser says the major oil companies have a dimmer view of the 
refuge's prospects than the administration does. "If the government gave 
them the leases for free they wouldn't take them," said the adviser, who 
would speak only anonymously because of his position. "No oil company really 
cares about ANWR," the adviser said, using an acronym for the refuge, 
pronounced "an-war."
Wayne Kelley, who worked in Alaska as a petroleum engineer for Halliburton, 
the oil services corporation, and is now managing director of RSK, an oil 
consulting company, said the refuge's potential could "only be determined by 
"The enthusiasm of government officials about ANWR exceeds that of industry 
because oil companies are driven by market forces, investing resources in 
direct proportion to the economic potential, and the evidence so far about 
ANWR is not promising," Mr. Kelley said.
The project has long been on Mr. Bush's agenda. When he formulated a 
national energy policy during the 2000 campaign he turned to the oil 
industry for help. Heading the effort was Hunter Hunt, a top executive of 
the Hunt Oil Company, based in Dallas.
. Others who advised Mr. Bush on his energy plan said including the refuge 
was seen as a political maneuver to open the door to more geologically 
promising prospects off the coasts of California and Florida. Those areas, 
where tests have found oil, have been blocked for years by federal 
moratoriums because of political and environmental concerns.
"If you can't do ANWR," said Matthew R. Simmons, a Houston investment banker 
for the energy industry and a Bush adviser in 2000, "you'll never be able to 
drill in the promising areas."
Shortly after assuming office, Mr. Bush asked Vice President Dick Cheney to 
lead an examination of energy policy. A May 2001 report by a task force Mr. 
Cheney assembled echoed many of Mr. Bush's campaign promises, including 
opening up part of the refuge. The report called for further study of the 
Gulf of Mexico and other areas. The next year, Mr. Bush said "our national 
security makes it urgent" to explore the refuge.
By then, the industry was moving in the opposite direction. In 2002 BP 
withdrew financial support from Arctic Power, a lobbying group financed by 
the state of Alaska, after an earlier withdrawal by Chevron Texaco. BP, long 
active in Alaska, later moved its team of executives to Houston from Alaska, 
a company executive said.
The relationship between the administration and the oil industry has been a 
flashpoint for critics of Mr. Bush. Democrats, upset that Mr. Cheney refused 
to disclose information about his task force meetings with industry 
executives, see a cozy alliance.
Their concerns are heightened because of the former ties between the 
industry and Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney and the administration's stance on 
issues like climate change. The president once headed a small exploration 
company, and Mr. Cheney previously was chief executive of Halliburton.
"Big oil," Senator John Kerry said in last year's presidential campaign, now 
calls "the White House their home."
Some industry executives say their views are more aligned with those of 
Republicans on a broad range of issues including regulation, the environment 
and energy supply, and they were heartened by the initial pronouncements of 
the Bush administration. But some say they feel let down by Mr. Bush's 
inability to lift bans on oil exploration.
"When this administration came in, the president and the vice president 
recognized there was a problem of energy supply and demand," said Tom Fry, 
the executive director of the National Offshore Industries Association. But 
Mr. Cheney's task force, Mr. Fry said, talked only about offshore drilling 
as something to be studied. "They never say they will lift the moratoria," 
he said.

Peter Anderson, President
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell: (608) 698-1314
eMail: anderson@no.address

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