Our Energy Future
The determination shown by politicians and petroleum companies to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge cannot be explained by the quantity or the value of the fossil fuels they might extract. At the present rate of usage, the total projected reserves beneath the potentially exploitable "1002 area" of the Refuge's coastal plain is estimated at a few billion barrels of oil--a reserve that would support the nation's oil habit for 200 days. To cover the high cost of drilling in the refuge, which is ice-bound most of the year, the price of oil extracted there would have to exceed the highest prices projected by industry and government experts.
Increased fuel efficiency, on the other hand, will more than eliminate the need for any new source of oil from the Arctic. In fact, an increase in the government's fuel efficiency standard from 27 to 32 miles per gallon would also offset the need for U.S. imports from Iraq. Greater fuel efficiency will bring great savings to the consumer of oil and major savings to the taxpayer, especially compared to the federal subsidies that further oil development in the Arctic will require.
The moment to shift to a technological system that depends upon renewable energy resources has arrived. There is no need to drill for oil in one of the planet's most beautiful and biologically productive regions. It is time for concerned citizens like you to protect the Arctic Refuge and other irreplaceable American heritage sites that are being drilled for oil and gas deposits. It is time for Americans and all of humanity to recognize that the cost of oil dependency to health, to the environment, and to the peace of nations is too high to be sustained for another generation.
To be involved in the solution is to develop renewable and energy efficient technologies such as solar and wind power, biomass and fuel cells. Both the conservation of energy and the transformation of humanity's energy system toward renewables are not only economically and environmentally desirable; they are necessary. Proven oil reserves are not expected to last past mid-century. Even the oil industry recognizes this reality. British Petroleum not only invests in solar energy research, the company now claims that BP stands for "Beyond Petroleum."