Trump greenlights drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but will oil companies show up?

Caribou from the Porcupine Caribou Herd migrate onto the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Alaska. USFWS via AP

Scott L. Montgomery, University of Washington

The Trump administration has announced that it is opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development – the latest twist in a decades-long battle over the fate of this remote area. Its timing is truly terrible.

Low oil prices, a pandemic-driven recession and looming elections add up to highly unfavorable conditions for launching expensive drilling operations. In the longer term, the climate crisis and an ongoing shift to a lower-carbon economy raise big questions about future oil demand.

I’ve researched the U.S. energy industry for more than 20 years. As I see it, conservative Republicans have backed oil and gas production in ANWR since the 1980s for two overriding reasons. First, to increase domestic oil production and reduce dependence on “foreign oil,” a euphemism for imports from OPEC countries. This argument now is largely dead, thanks to the fracking revolution, which has greatly expanded U.S. oil and gas production.

The other motive for drilling in ANWR, I believe, is to score a major, precedent-setting victory over government policies that prioritize conservation over energy production and environmental advocacy groups that have fought for years to protect ANWR as “one of the finest examples of wilderness left on Earth.” Capturing ANWR and transforming it into a locus of fossil fuel extraction would be a massive physical and symbolic triumph for politicians who believe that resource extraction is the highest use of public lands.

President Trump seems to understand this, based on his recent comment that “ANWR is a big deal that Ronald Reagan couldn’t get done and nobody could get done.” But global, national and oil industry circumstances are overwhelmingly arrayed against Trump getting it done. https://www.youtube.com/embed/bTdOrHxIto4?wmode=transparent&start=0 An overview of 40 years of controversy over drilling in ANWR.

Years of debate

ANWR is inarguably an ecological treasure. With 45 species of mammals and over 200 species of birds from six continents, the refuge is more biodiverse than almost any area in the Arctic.

This is especially true of the 1002 coastal plain portion, which has the largest number of polar bear dens in Alaska. It also supports muskoxen, Arctic wolves, foxes, hares, migrating waterfowl and Porcupine caribou, which calve there. Most of ANWR is designated as wilderness, which puts it off-limits for development. But this does not include the 1002 Area, which was recognized as a promising area for energy development when the refuge was created in 1980 and left that way after a 1987 study confirmed its potential.

Climate change is causing especially rapid warming in the Arctic, with probable negative effects for many of these species. Environmental advocates argue that fossil fuel production in ANWR will add to this process, damaging habitat and impacting the Indigenous people who rely on the wildlife for subsistence. But the situation is complex: There are also Indigenous groups who support ANWR development for the jobs and income it would bring.

Energy companies’ interest in ANWR, meanwhile, has risen and fallen over time. The discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay in 1968, followed by two oil shocks in the 1970s, sparked support for exploration and production in the region. But this enthusiasm faded in the late 1980s and ‘90s in the face of fierce political and legal opposition and years of low oil prices.

Poll showing stronger support for developing new energy sources than for producing more fossil fuel.
A majority of Americas of all political leanings believe the U.S. should develop alternative energy sources rather than expanding production of oil, coal and natural gas. Pew Research Center, CC BY-ND

Scientists performed two major assessments of oil reserves in the 1002 Area in 1987 and 1998. The latter study concluded that ANWR contained up to 11 billion barrels of oil that could be profitably recovered if prices were consistently high. But when prices rose between 2010 and late 2014, companies chose to focus instead on areas to the west of the refuge, where new discoveries had been made.

In the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, a Republican-controlled Congress directed the Trump administration to open the 1002 Area to leasing. The bill required one lease sale within four years, and at least two sales within a decade. But as the Interior Department tried to comply, it was hampered by political controversies and environmental assessment requirements.

The new Record of Decision, released on Aug. 17, 2020, determines where and how leasing will occur. It represents the Trump administration’s last chance to bring forward a well-designed leasing plan, and is certain to spark legal challenges from environmental and wildlife organizations.

Is ANWR oil worth it?

Toady the oil industry is facing its greatest set of challenges in modern history. They include:

  • A collapse in oil demand and prices due to the global pandemic, with a sluggish and uncertain recovery
  • Companies canceling and reducing activity worldwide, with bankruptcies in the U.S. shale industry and drilling rig counts falling back to 1940 levels
  • New uncertainty about future global oil demand as climate concerns push public interest and government policy toward electric vehicles, and automakers respond with new EV designs
  • The growing possibility of Democratic victories in the November 2020 elections, which would likely lead to policies reducing fossil fuel use
  • Increasing investor pressure on banks and investment firms to reduce or eliminate support for fossil fuel projects.

All of these factors compound the challenges of leasing and drilling in ANWR. Well costs there would be among the highest anywhere onshore in the U.S. Only one well has ever been drilled in the area, so new drilling would be purely exploratory and have a lower chance of success than in better-studied areas. Under these conditions, it would make more sense for companies that are active on Alaska’s North Slope to pursue sites they currently have under lease, which pose much lower risk.

USGS map showing estimated 3.6 billion barrels of oil in Alaska's central North Slope.
Alaska’s North Slope outside of ANWR remains rich in oil, according to the latest U.S. Geological Survey assessment. USGS

What’s more, as I have argued previously, it’s not clear that there’s a need to drill in ANWR. Energy companies have made new discoveries elsewhere south and west of Prudhoe Bay – most recently, the Talitha Field, which could yield 500 million barrels or more.

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Companies that pursue leases in ANWR also will have to weigh the prospects of litigation, investor anger and a tarnished brand – especially large firms with public name recognition. Shell’s experience in 2015, when it abandoned plans to drill offshore in the Arctic under heavy pressure, indicate what other companies can expect.

If Trump is voted out of office, I expect that a Biden administration would quickly move to reverse the directive for leasing in ANWR. In my view, this contested area will have far more meaning and value as a wildlife refuge in a warming world that is starting to seriously move away from hydrocarbon energy.

This is an updated version of an article originally published on Dec. 20, 2017.

Scott L. Montgomery, Lecturer, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

110 thoughts on “Trump greenlights drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but will oil companies show up?

  1. Not opening the Reserve, opening a few miles along the northern edge. About 0.01% or less of the Reserve. A few billion mosquitoes may be impacted, that’s about it. Main thing is to provide some crude to keep the pipeline in operation. “Green lighting” nice token. Too bad it wasn’t done at least 30 years ago.

    • Dennis, your statement “Main thing is to provide some crude to keep the pipeline in operation.” is right on. Not only was the 1002 area designated as an oil and gas set-aside when ANWR was formed, but this issue of the Alaska Pipeline needing more crude is serious. The low crude level flowing through the pipeline was “slugging”, where flow departed laminar flow and accumulated into seperate sectors being full and others empty. When these “slugs” hit the bottom of a decline in the pipe they produced an impressive tremor. There even has been some cutting of the crude with hot water to try to keep flow laminar, but the pipeline is at risk due to low crude transport levels. ANWR? No hikers go there, it’s just another poster child for loopy greenies. Wait for the November election and then DRILL!

  2. Not opening the Refuge, opening a few miles along the northern edge. About 0.01% or less of the Refuge. A few billion mosquitoes may be impacted, that’s about it. Main thing is to provide some crude to keep the pipeline in operation. “Green lighting” nice token. Too bad it wasn’t done at least 30 years ago. Better late than never, but it will be never if the Democrats win in 2020.

      • Why is it you are ALWAYS in TOTAL DENIAL of actual data griffool !!

        Your link cites precipitation.

        Seem you are CLUELESS about the difference between precipitation and temperature.

        Yes, they has been some beneficial warming since the COLD ANOMALY of the Arctic late 1970s/

        That warming happened around El Ninos.. as shown by actual measurements

        Humans DO NOT CAUSE EL NINOs.. period. !!

        There is NO EVIDENCE of any human causation.

        You know that.

        But you keep up your mindless patter anyway.

        Sadly pathetic that you show no inclination for actual facts or learning.

        • DENIAL CLUELESS mindless Sadly pathetic boneheads IGNORANT TOTAL DENIAL ABJECT IGNORANCE Utter BS STOP DENYING CLIMATE CHANGE

          Fred’s on fire, just like Siberia.

          • Poor Loy, not a single fact..

            Poor little climate change denier.

            Evidence of warming by human CO2 … totally lacking ! STILL !

          • “on fire, just like Siberia.”

            Forecasts for 1st Sept

            Omsk 24C, Chita 12C, Yakutsk 17C, Vladivostok 19C, Norilsk 14C , Bratsk 14C

            You have a bizarre sense of “on fire”… or is it just ignorance?

          • Are fires in Siberia unprecedented? I guess that would depend upon how long your record is, Loydo.

          • So Andy55 or Spike55 or whatever you call yourself these days, whose basement have you been skulking in for the last cople of years?

          • Wow. Panties? Meet wad, right next to the sand in that mangina. The Arctic is still, continues to be and remains covered with ice. Perhaps you could use some of that ice to sooth your nether regions and get a grip.

          • Vivid imagination And NO EVIDENCE, poor Loy..

            DOH !!

            So funny watching you when you get of your own back at you

            Typical leftist.. just cannot cope. !

      • “Completely incorrect!”

        Stop self titling your posts, griffool

        It a very sad and pathetic comedy act. !

        https://i.postimg.cc/65rDWqT0/canada_cooling.jpg

        Arctic temps no warmer than 1940

        https://i.postimg.cc/050Wq8SF/Arctic-Surface-Temps-Since-1920.jpg

        Arctic sea ice extent, just a bit down from the extremes of the LIA, (1979 was similar to LIA)

        https://i.postimg.cc/LXmygrQ0/Arctic-Sea-Ice-Extent-North-of-Iceland-3000-Years-Moffa-S-nchez.jpg

        Iceland temps no warmer than 1940

        https://i.postimg.cc/rwVsjV3g/iceland-8.jpg

        And STILL no actual real evidence of warming by atmospheric CO2

      • Griff has linked the first thing that google returned as usual .. lets see how this one goes 🙂

        Oh so it’s a study between 2013 and 2017 at four sites.
        Ummm Griff that doesn’t even cover any of the time periods Fred has listed above.

        Are you that much of an idiot you google the topic and just take the first link?

        Surely you aren’t that stupid that you can’t see you currently fail every post you make with a link .

      • Griff, If there is one thing all climate scientists agree on, it’s that in the absence of a sufficiently long data history the periodicity of short term climate cycles are not established.

        This Paper, takes a snap-shot of precipitation events between 2013-2017 at a scattering of sites near Fairbanks, and draws conclusions from THAT? You find this “interesting” instead of ridiculous?

        I’m also curious about your statement at a different posting last week: “climate change clearly signaled it was coming. and will be back again.”

        Are you agreeing with “the pause?” Suggesting that the next climate change will be different than the last one, perhaps a return to cooling as we continue to retreat from “the little ice age” on our journey to the next real “ice age”. Are you inclined to believe, as I do, that orbital changes have more to do with temperature than CO2 levels? Even orbital induced cycles as short as the 88 year “Cleissberg periodicity?” Are you introducing a new theme “catastrophic anthropogenic global precipitation change” now that the temperature one has been convincingly beat to death?
        Looking forward to your response.

    • Fred250
      No offence but you are clueless. The planet is warming, that is undeniable. We can only argue about the rate and the effect. And on this warming planet the arctic is warming much faster than anywhere else. So stop embarrassing yourself and try looking at data that is not from the back of a cornflakes box.

      • Poor Slimon..

        UAH data too much for you, poor thing ! 😉

        You prefer the massive UHI contamination and smearing and data adjustment of your climate masters , do you.

        Stop embarrassing yourself with your DENIAL of natural climate change and real measured climate data.

        • Fraud250
          “ ONLY at El Nino events.”
          And it cools during La Niña. The net result is warming. ENSO has absolutely nothing to do with it anymore than the tide is responsible for sea level rise. But It seems you need a tiny bit of understanding of the system to get that.

      • “The planet is warming, that is undeniable.”
        Poor Simple Simon. Your statement that “the planet is warming” is laughably meaningless, although typical for you Warmunists. We have warmed some since the LIA, and a good thing too. Even Alarmists though (usually) don’t try to pretend that the initial warming had anything to do with man. No, conveniently, they like to cherry pick the period beginning around 1980 which conveniently was after a decades-long cooling (which they try to blame on pollution). The 18-year pause in warming alone should have put the kibosh on the Climatist’s claims, but I guess in their world, “carbon”, which continued to increase, is able to take a vacay, and maybe hide out in the oceans for a while. The inconvenient truth, for Alarmists is that we can’t actually know what the planet is currently doing today, let alone what it will be doing. And the reason is that, unfortunately for you Warmunists, “carbon” doesn’t drive the climate.

        • ” The 18-year pause in warming alone should have put the kibosh on the Climatist’s claims…”

          But then it got even warmer, so WUWT?

          • It wasn’t very long ago at all that all the “scientists” were absolutely certain the next ice age was imminent!
            I have watched since then at how “scientists” have tortured data, and just plain lied to achieve their next fantasy/ frightening scenario, Global Warming.
            You don’t need any scientific knowledge at all to see through the thin facade of politics in all of this. Start with my favorite Communist Maurice Strong- who at least made no bones about the political nature of this charade and ended his days living in Communist China.

      • “The planet is warming”.

        So what? Do you want the planet to cool.into another glacial period such as it almost did during the Little Ice Age?

      • That there has been an extremely mild warming since the bottom of the Little Ice Age is beyond doubt.
        There is no evidence that CO2 has anything to do with this rise.

        Beyond that, all insult, no data. How typical.

      • The “planet” isn’t warming. Some places are, some are cooling slightly, some are relatively static in the very short temp record. Mashing them all together and calling it global warming is pretty un-scientific.

      • Ahhhh, Simple Simon bleats “The planet is warming, that is undeniable. We can only argue about the rate and the effect. ”

        No. The argument is not about rate OR effect, SS. It’s about the cause. The planet is currently warming naturally, from the Little Ice age. The Null Hypothesis holds, as there is too much contra-indicating data to sustain the man made climate change hypothesis.

        Now go untwist your thong and stop embar-assing yourself.

      • Simon, yes the planet is warming, yes we can only argue about the rate and the effect, yes the Arctic is warming much faster than anywhere else. Not even a casual observer will disagree with any of that. So it’s all about rate and effect. “warming much faster than anywhere else”…Much? for example maybe 0.0 something per decade in the tropics and O.0 a little bit more in the Arctic, maybe even 5 times as great? That covers rate, now let’s look at effect. I understand that Arctic ice “melting” is all about volume and not extent but measuring volume ain’t easy. So let’s look at extent. Go to NSIDC and look at the Charctic graph on July 1st for years 2010 to 2020. For all intents and purposes the lines completely overlap. NO EFFECT (looking at the extreme highs and lows on the graph is a study in variable weather, mostly wind direction, so ignore that meaningless metric). Note: Cycles, Simon, study cycles, it’s all about cycles, except for negligible miniscule C02. increases maybe. and subsea volcanism, maybe (IMHO).
        c

  3. North slope…..years ago a former Alaska governor asked “when did the arctic wasteland turn into the delicate arctic paradise”? I’m all for keeping it neat and tidy but seriously…. the north slope sucks and I’ll happily never return there in this life. I would not be surprised if the greater portion of non plant biomass was composed of mosquitoes though the arctic char make for some nice fishing if you can come up with the time and resources. In addition most of that area was under 100~500 meters of ice about 14k years ago (hint… where were the caribou?).

    Of note. How did the early explorers, sometime prior to 1922, find oil up there in such quantities that they established the Naval (later maps list it as National) Petroleum Reserve in Alaska? The did it by basically sailing along the coast during summer and spotting the many natural oil seepage that were visible.

    Two points of importance. First an earlier poster mentioned that the pipeline needs a minimal amount of oil to pass through else it has to shut down and it would be (to my understanding) very expensive and time consuming to restart. The most important point though is where would that oil go? The West coast and Asia will soon be competing for an ever shrinking supply. The rest of the US is fine due to fracking but California may be in for some shocks if Asia is willing to pay more.

    It will be interesting to watch this play out.

  4. One-Term-Trump is an idiot. A selfish, egotistical ignorant idiot, with no understanding of… well, anything. Brilliant! He’s done a deal – which nobody wants and will get reversed before he’s out of the White House. He shouldn’t have been there in the first place. 141 days and counting.

    • You may be mistaken. His chances may be far better than is generally assumed.

      And you assume that to replace him with Biden will be an improvement. It will be different, but Biden increasingly seems to be retreating into a world of his own, and there are real scenarios in which Biden in power is more dangerous to the world and to America than Trump. A bet on Biden is basically a bet on the power of his staff and appointees to run things while he goes further off on leave. It may work, but its high risk. Especially over four years.

      We shall see. There are many routes to eruption of a real crisis. Either a vote too close to call on the night. A victory for Trump which the Democrats refuse to accept. A Democratic victory which the Republicans refuse to accept.

      I would not be looking 141 days forward with eager anticipation. More like with real apprehension. The street violence we have seen so far could be only an appetizer. All this is happening in a country full of guns and with a substantial minority who are prepared to use them on each other.

      Worry. And from your particular perspective, worry that the polls are getting it badly wrong. Yet again.

      • Bear in mind that the person you are actually voting for President will in all likelihood be the current nominee for Vice President. That would be Kamala Harris, a most unfortunate choice for the country and a most awful example of racial and gender pandering.

        • One of the most openly racist Democrat Party leaders in the current batch. Maxine is worse, Clyburn is in the running for most racist, just lacks the drive, Pressely tops the Squats though Talib has enough self hate to vault into the front running, delving into the members of CBC it is hard to pick a “most racist”, they are all working hard to be racist as often as possible.

    • Are you mickey Mann’s brother.

      Certainly have a deep case of TDS..

      So Funny !!

      Bet you would vote for dementia Jo, and his AntiFa/BLM supporters……right 😉

      • No, no relation to the odious Michael Mann. Thankfully.

        I’m actually not a US citizen, so can’t vote for either. Given the choice, I’d vote for Kermit the Frog over Trump. Any reasonable person would. The US is already a laughing stock in the rest of the world, more pitied than admired. Another four years of the coiffured buffoon and you’ll never recover. A Trump dynasty… oh yes, it could get worse. Much, much worse.

        • Another socialist delusion, defining reasonable as “agrees with me”.

          Socialists are so convinced of their own superiority that they can’t imagine why anyone is permitted to disagree with them.

        • Right. A fantastic economy and historically low unemployment (apart from the gross overreaction to Covid by governors). That’s such a terrible thing.

        • US the laughing stock?
          Is Germany and the rest of NATO laughing now that TRUMP! is forcing them to live up to their financial commitments?

          Are the “Palestinians” laughing now that TRUMP! is starting to unify the Sunni Arab countries and Israel against Iran and the other fanatical aggressive regimes?

          Is China laughing now that TRUMP! is hollowing out their manufacturing industries and returning production to the US?

          Will the EU be laughing once the manufacturing in the US begins to reduce their exports to the US?

          I have a friend who teaches CAD and PLC (industrial controls) at a local college. He and representatives of 5 other technical type colleges are developing a program, in consort with manufacturers, to train advanced PLC and 3d printing factory workers for the new factories in the planning and development stages or currently being built. Funny thing though, the manufacturer he is working closely with is not moving from China but OUT OF CALIFORNIA.

          Finally: I find it funny when people call TRUMP! such vile names and demean his intelligence. All you need to do is watch a Pelsoi press conference when TRUMP! is brought up and see the steam coming from her ears to keep her head from exploding to know TRUMP! is continuously outsmarting her. It is the swamp that has held back the US for the last 3 1/2 years. A TRUMP! win in November will lead to the value of housing the the DC area to drop like a rock when he starts to clean house. A very good thing. Getting back to a central government actually within the framework of the US constitution would free the US economy and people from excessive taxation and regulation that the US government has never had the authority to enact. That is, of course, why the selection of judges is so important. 2 more orientalist judges on the US Supreme court will lead to the return of true federalism where states will decide on things such as welfare and medicaid and citizens will vote with their feet if they think the state is giving to much of OPM to the “needy”. Cities across the country are already seeing that happen with only excessive taxation and failure to control violence in the streets.

          Just sayin.

          • Like most socialists, he is too good to spend time around anyone who disagrees with him.
            Therefor it is quite natural for him to assume that everyone agrees with him.
            Since he and all his equally narrow minded friends despise Trump, it’s a small mental leap to assuming that everyone despise’s Trump.

        • Adrian, “not a US citizen, so can’t vote…..” (excuse me but our former president openly encouraged non-citizens to vote and dead people are among the most faithful and consistent democrat voters. Kermit the frog isn’t going to get elected. Either Trump or Biden will, well Harris for all practical purposes. So your TDS means you would be voting for the Green New Deal. Telling, very telling. Your calling a successful billionaire married to a supermodel an idiot. hmm. Credibility rating anyone?

    • I look forward to listening to you screech&wail for the next 4 years, it will be gloriously entertaining to watch your continuing mental meltdown.

      • So much self-righteous anger, so much filling in the blanks when you have zero evidence, so much wilful ignorance, so many baseless assumptions. Doesn’t agree with Trump, therefore socialist, idiot and delusional. Doesn’t follow though.

        Definitely a Fascist.

        • Wow, so much anger that you no longer manage to make any sense?

          The only angry person I see here is you.

          How typical of a socialist, to declare that anyone who disagrees with them is a fascist.
          Of course fascism is a form of socialism, however few socialists are smart enough to know that.

    • Adrian,
      Since you are not an American, I don’t give a fig what you think of our president, or our country really. I believe most Americans feel the same way. We don’t have to be popular, just successful. The same can be said for the president. One of the biggest epiphanies of my life was when I realized that it didn’t matter what most other people thought of me, least of all those that I had a low opinion of. People will hate you for not agreeing with them and/or having the temerity to be more successful than them. Trump understands all this which is why all the hate directed at him is ineffective. You, Adrian are the one that does not understand America, our people, or our politics. You will be surprised (and probably dismayed) come November, and we will all be laughing at you because of YOUR ignorance.

    • Adrian Mann, so you’re voting for the all knowing all caring Biden/Harris ticket with their Green New Deal. You call Trump an ignorant idiot?

  5. while we are on the arctic…

    arctic sea ice today dropped under 4 million sq km – didn’t somebody offer me a bet it wouldn’t go under 4 million?

    If melt stopped today it would already be 3rd lowest extent on record.

    and there is now open water on the Atlantic side beyond 85 degrees north: AFAIK a new record…

    • LOL, Poor deliberately IGNORANT griffool. !

      Still in TOTAL DENIAL of the tiny time span (but more than your IQ) of this so called record you keep mantra-ising about..

      It is totally meaningless, and based on ABJECT IGNORANCE.

      Not a new record AT ALL. !!

      Current levels are far higher than for most of the last 10,000 years, only surpassed by the LIA and the 1979 peak.

    • Why not comment that Beaufort Sea is at its 3rd highest in 15 years, as is the Greenland Sea

      The WEATHER event of that hot blob and winds from the south over northern Siberia cleared a lot of that side of the Arctic.

      Nowhere near down to levels for most of the 9000 years before the LIA and 1979 extremes, though

      Sea ice level are still VERY HIGH over the long term (10,000 year), far higher than the average.

    • “On December 13 & 14, 2009, professor, prophet, and soothsayer Al Gore predicted the North Polar Ice Cap could be completely ice free within the next five to seven years.”

      • Remember, Peter Wadham said 1 million km² was “ice-free” and it was going to happen .. I can’t remember how many years ago….

        Still up at 4 Wadhams, according to griff.

        LOTS of sea ice up there. !!

      • No, ice ages are bad. All life on Earth suffers. Grizzly bears become polar bears due to all the ice covering their habitat. Sea habitats shift toward the equator. Sea level drops, salinity increases. Atmospheric CO2 levels drop. Bad business all around.

    • Yea! This means that the ice sheets aren’t starting to advance again. Good news for us, because when they do, it will announce that the interglacial is over and we are in big trouble.

    • “volume is below the long term trend ”

      Utter BS

      The long term average is FAR lower than current levels

      Stop thinking that a period equal to your IQ is “long term”, it isn’t.

      Current levels are FAR HIGHER than for most of the last 10,000 years

      STOP DENYING CLIMATE CHANGE, Loy !!

      • Piomess is a mix of gravity based data (over a strong volcanic region, lol) some measurements and mostly modelling.

        It shows a highly beneficial drop in sea ice volume since the 1979 ANOMALY,

        … which was up there with the LIA.

        Russians can’t wait for the sea ice to open up like Wadhams and Al Gore said it would..

        But are building several huge nuclear powered ice-melting ice-breakers anyway.

        Reggie with his blowtorch would be envious ! 😉

  6. Orange Man has very little to do with this. It was Carter who signed the bill that reserved this land as oil exploration zone. After the Oil Crisis, it was the best compromise the Democrats were going to get, before Reagan entered the White House. In 2017, the Republicans added opening up the next zone to the tax reform bill. (naughty, but not as naughty as the GND)

    Even in 2017, it was obvious that there are plenty of nice and warm places around the Gulf to extract oil from. So it must have been just a bargaining chip. The Democrats SAY they value nature and hate ‘big oil’, but a few miles of frozen tundra was not important enough to give up something else.

    • Most of those warm places around the Gulf are off limits thanks to the Democrats.
      Why does it matter where the oil comes from, more is better. More sources is more stable.

  7. What swings most people’s opinion on ANWR is showing them the map with the area to be drilled on outlined. 9 times out of 10 they go”Thats it?”, the 10th screeches “OIL BAD!!!!!!”. You will never change the wackjobs, stop trying.

  8. It’s all going to come down to money and a cost/benefit analysis. Because it always does.

    The article states that it may contain 11 million barrels but the Tilithia field contains 500 million and is already drilled. And it would be exploratory when they already have a field that has been explored and contains more oil.

    Doesn’t take a mental giant to figure out that one. I wouldn’t count on anything being done with that parcel of land and it will be left alone to the mosquitoes and black flies.

    In the current state of the economy, division, and unrest, why in the world was this ACT not buried underneath the pile of sh1t that needs to get done first? I put forth that this ACT is nothing more than a waste of energy (pun intended). Focus needs to be not on what somebody wanted in the 80’s out of fear of the energy crisis of the 70’s but on the NOW.

    45 million people out of work, deemed “unessential”. Businesses eradicated, lives ruined, futures destroyed. Entire industries gutted down to only the bare essentials. Parents afraid to send their kids to school, people shaming others in public for showing their nose. People can’t gather, meet, exchange information, be social, or participate in an experience. Division has torn apart cities, counties, states, communities.

    And THIS ancient piece of paper that should have gone into the shredder when fracking commenced is where our government is spending their time? Talk about out of touch.

    • What a bunch of hooey!

      That is the problem with progressives/liberals. They can not see how anyone else can work on more than one thing at a time. Just Jenn has one goal, to get TRUMP! out of office. Any achievement of a long sought after result by the free enterprise movement is bad for as many reasons and a lib can think of . The restrictions should NEVER have been in place from the beginning. Think the national monuments of Grand Staircase Escalate (Bill Clinton) and Bears Ears (Obama). Those areas were over sized specifically to encompass natural resources to prohibit extraction. TRUMP! reduced the size of those areas to allow for the use of the resources. Why did these democrat presidents declare these massive the monuments in Utah? Utah NEVER voted democrat.

      After his re-election, TRUMP! needs to declare Central Park in NYC a wilderness area. Send in the dozers to return it to it’s original natural condition. Let the leftist New Yorkers see how it feels to have the use of “their” land taken for no reason.

      • @ DRAKE:

        Um no. I am neither a liberal or a progressive. As for Trump, I don’t believe he should be in office but that does not make me a 1 or the other. Nor does it negate my agreement with the author of the article on the timing of this piece of paper Trump signed.

        And thank you for proving my point about being a nation divided.

        • Why do you believe he shouldn’t be in office?
          Because you don’t like his politics?
          Because you don’t like the way he talks? Is he just not genteel enough for you?

  9. “This argument now is largely dead, thanks to the fracking revolution”

    One socialist alarmist proclaims that we don’t need ANWR because of fracking.
    Meanwhile every other socialist alarmist is doing everything in their power to eliminate fracking.

  10. “Climate change is causing especially rapid warming in the Arctic, with probable negative effects for many of these species.”

    These fools actually think that warming the freaking ARCTIC would be bad for life there. Do they seriously believe it would be better if it were colder?

    • Modern environmentalists are trained to believe that life is extremely fragile. Any change, no matter how small is going to kill everything.

  11. The old oil guys up here in AK believe that there is about as much oil / natural gas in ANWR as there was in Prudhoe when drilling first started 50 years ago. Interestingly, that estimate also applies to both NPR-A and offshore in Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.

    Our problem is not the quantity of oil, but rather the unstable tax and regulatory regime. There is a ballot proposition on the Nov ballot that will once again raise taxes on the producers. We lost Shell when a combination of greens, the O’Bama administration and predatory federal courts chased them out of state after drilling a few exploratory wells in the Chukchi in 2015. BP is currently leaving, selling their assets to Hilcorp.

    When you diddle (or threaten to diddle) the tax burden every single year on a business that invests based on expected production years in the future, those guys will take their business to a more stable location (West Texas and the Dakotas for instance).

    Pogo was right. We met the enemy and he am us. Cheers –

  12. There are a few good comments here, notably by Dennis G. Sandberg, Ron Long, jd, and agimarc, but most replies are a waste of time. My wife and I floated through this area back in the early 70s. We talked a friend into dropping us into the mountains. We took a month to do it. Fantastic trip.

    But, when we got to the area 1002, we didn’t waste time exploring it. No sane person would, IMHO. We went through it as fast as possible and boated along the coast to Flaxman Island where we hitchhiked a ride into Deadhorse. This was before “rules” came to the area, and we then hitched a ride on a C130 into Fairbanks – which was home.

    Folks, there is nothing in this small area of ANWR to attract any sane people to. Exploratory drilling will have a pretty small footprint anyway. The caribou won’t care at all. The mosquitos will welcome the extra blood.

    It seems to me that there are a lot of people who care deeply about this area that never have been there and never will go there.

    • From what I have read, the Caribou actually like the pipelines. They tend to huddle around them when it gets cold.

    • I, too, was in the area where this controversy has raged, and there is not a damned thing there other than black flies and mosquitoes. I have experienced mosquitoes in multiple and widely spread locales about the world. I will put AK ‘squiters up against any others on the planet!

  13. I understand that the STEEL pipeline sections were asked to carry salt water during the depletion of the original North Slope wells (just like Saudi Arabia supposedly pumps much more salt water back INTO its wells than it does oil out…) and that the chlorides have gravely depleted the security of the Trans Canadian Pipeline.
    Does anyone have information on this issue?

  14. Did Pew ask the responds to rate their level of knowledge regarding grid management, system reliability, or cost issues for transmission system expansions to remote wind farms?

  15. “in a warming world that is starting to seriously move away from hydrocarbon energy”.
    Completely wrong, why didn’t they put this at the beginning so we’d be sure of the propaganda

  16. Impact on ANWR is infinitesimal. Only actual impact is aesthetic in the humanity-hating minds of our perverted eco-religionists.

    Upon visiting the only sign of human presence for thousands of square miles: “I see a sign of human presence! Alaska is ruined for me.”

  17. “The geological evidence that the modern Arctic is still much colder than it was when CO2 concentrations were below 270 ppm a few millennia ago is robust.”

  18. Simon, yes the planet is warming, yes we can only argue about the rate and the effect, yes the Arctic is warming much faster than anywhere else. Not even a casual observer will disagree with any of that. So it’s all about rate and effect. “warming much faster than anywhere else”…Much? for example maybe 0.0 something per decade in the tropics and O.0 a little bit more in the Arctic, maybe even 5 times as great? That covers rate, now let’s look at effect. I understand that Arctic ice “melting” is all about volume and not extent but measuring volume ain’t easy. So let’s look at extent. Go to NSIDC and look at the Charctic graph on July 1st for years 2010 to 2020. For all intents and purposes the lines completely overlap. NO EFFECT (looking at the extreme highs and lows on the graph is a study in variable weather, mostly wind direction, so ignore that meaningless metric). Note: Cycles, Simon, study cycles, it’s all about cycles, except for negligible miniscule C02 increases maybe. and subsea volcanism, maybe (IMHO).

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