With ANWR We Can Take Immediate Steps to Boost Domestic Production
A long-term strategy for energy security must involve alternatives to petroleum-based fuels
November 3, 2011
Yes, America should produce more of our domestic resources, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but we can't just focus on production to get real energy security.
Crude oil from Alaska's North Slope has played an important role in U.S. energy security since the late 1970s, and it is estimated that more than 10 billion barrels of additional oil may lie under ANWR's coastal plain. Under the right circumstances, ANWR could produce nearly a million barrels a day of oil. This production will create American jobs, help lower our trade deficit, and make the United States more energy secure. Currently, the U.S. is sending nearly a billion dollars a day overseas to purchase foreign oil. Our dependence on these imports has influenced our foreign policy in negative ways, requiring us to accommodate governments whose policies and values we often don't share.
Our organization, Securing America's Future Energy, or SAFE, has recommended that the Department of Interior work with Alaska on a pilot program to demonstrate if extended-reach directional drilling could tap deposits under ANWR without establishing a surface presence in the refuge itself. The existence of adjacent projects on state land makes this possible.
It is important, however, to note that even with more domestic production, Americans will still be impacted at the gas pump by sudden price spikes. More domestic oil production is clearly necessary, but a long-term strategy for energy security must involve alternatives to petroleum-based fuels, the most promising of which is to dramatically ramp up the use of plug-in electric vehicles.
Electrification has the advantage of price stability, a diversity of domestic supply, and a nationwide infrastructure that is already built. A comprehensive effort to move the U.S. light-duty car and truck fleet away from oil would put the U.S. on a path toward true energy security.
In short, let's take immediate steps to boost domestic production and, at the same time, take the necessary steps that will reduce our nation's reliance on oil over the long-term.