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Another disinformation campaign: ANWR

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  • carfreecrawford
    Read it and weep......... Two Thousand Acres March 1, 2002 By PAUL KRUGMAN According to my calculations, my work space occupies only a few square inches of
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2002
      Read it and weep.........

      Two Thousand Acres

      March 1, 2002


      According to my calculations, my work space occupies only a
      few square inches of office floor. You may find this
      implausible, but I'm using a well-accepted methodology.
      Well accepted, that is, among supporters of oil drilling in
      the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

      Last week Interior Secretary Gale Norton repeated the
      standard response to concerns about extensive oil
      development in one of America's last wild places: "The
      impact will be limited to just 2,000 out of 1.9 million
      acres of the refuge." That number comes from the House
      version of the Bush-Cheney energy plan, which promises that
      "surface acreage covered by production and support
      facilities" will not exceed 2,000 acres. It's a reassuring
      picture: a tiny enclave of development, practically lost in
      the Arctic vastness.

      But that picture is a fraud. Development won't be limited
      to a small enclave: according to the U.S. Geological
      Survey, oil in ANWR is scattered in many separate pools, so
      drilling rigs would be spread all across the coastal plain.
      The roads linking those rigs aren't part of the 2,000
      acres: they're not "production and support facilities." And
      "surface acreage covered" is very narrowly defined: if a
      pipeline snakes across the terrain on a series of posts,
      only the ground on which those posts rest counts; bare
      ground under the pipeline isn't considered "covered."

      Now you see how I work in such a small space. By those
      definitions, my "impact" is limited to floor areas that
      literally have stuff resting on them: the bottoms of the
      legs on my desk and chair, and the soles of my shoes. The
      rest of my office floor is pristine wilderness.

      There's a lesson here that goes well beyond the impact of
      oil drilling on caribou. Deceptive advertising pervades the
      administration's effort to sell the nation on its
      drill-and-burn energy strategy. In fact, those of us
      following this issue can't see why people made such a fuss
      about the Pentagon's plan to disseminate false information.
      How would that differ from current policy?

      Remember that this latest push to open up ANWR for drilling
      follows on the heels of an attempt to portray a plan to do
      nothing much about global warming as a major policy
      initiative. What else has the administration said about its
      energy plans that isn't true?

      Top of the list, surely, is the claim that drilling in ANWR
      is a national security issue, the key to ending our
      dependence on imported oil. In fact, the Energy Information
      Administration's preferred scenario says that even a decade
      after development begins, ANWR will produce only between
      600,000 and 900,000 barrels of oil a day - a small fraction
      of the 11 million barrels we currently import.

      Then there's the absurd claim that ANWR drilling will
      create hundreds of thousands of jobs - a claim based on a
      decade-old study by, you guessed it, the oil industry's
      trade association.

      But the most nefarious aspect of the administration's
      energy propaganda is its persistent effort to link energy
      shortages to environmentalism - an effort that, it's now
      clear, has often been consciously dishonest.

      For example, last spring Dick Cheney lamented the fact that
      the U.S. hadn't built any new oil refineries since the
      1970's, linking that lack of construction to environmental
      restrictions. I wrote a column last May pointing out that
      environmentalism had nothing to do with it, that refineries
      hadn't been built because the industry had excess capacity.
      What I didn't know was that several weeks earlier staffers
      at the Environmental Protection Agency had written a
      scathing critique of Mr. Cheney's draft energy report,
      making exactly the same point. The final version of the
      report, by the way, doesn't say in so many words that
      clean-air rules cause gasoline shortages - but it conveys
      that impression by innuendo.

      For now, it's possible for diligent citizens to cut through
      these deceptions - for example, you can read on the Web
      what the U.S. Geological Survey actually has to say about
      oil reserves in the Arctic. But I keep wondering when the
      administration will shut down those Web sites. After all,
      under John Ashcroft's new rules, agencies are no longer
      instructed to release information whenever possible;
      they're supposed to refuse requests to release information
      whenever there's a legal basis for doing so. And honest
      assessments of oil reserves in environmentally sensitive
      locations might be useful to terrorists - you never know. 

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