As Congress is scrambling for a quick solution to America’s oily crisis, the Alaska Wilderness League is working to expose misconceptions about the benefits and environmental effects of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Coastal Plain region. Here are a handful of points the group released last month.
- Leasing and development of the region would result in production of approximately 2.6 billion barrels of oil between 2018 and 2030, with production peaking in 2027 at approximately 780,000 barrels per day.
- Production would not lower gas prices immediately. Even if Congress authorized leasing tomorrow, first production would not occur for 10 years.
- At peak, the gas pump reduction would be less than $0.04 per gallon, based on a $0.78 per barrel reduction in the price of crude oil (in 2008 dollars).
- In recent years, reductions in petroleum consumption have led to reductions in projected future imports that dwarf the production potential of the Arctic Refuge.
- When national trends are extended out to the year 2050, the U.S. is on track to achieve a reduction in imports of more than 100 billion barrels of oil through conservation and alternative technologies.
- By 2050, potential production from the region is estimated to be less than 10 billion barrels of oil.
- The oil industry on Alaska's North Slope annually emits more than twice the amount of nitrous oxide emitted by Washington, D.C.
- The oil field industrial sprawl on the North Slope actually spreads across an area of more than 1,000 square miles.
- The Prudhoe Bay oil fields and Trans-Alaska Pipeline have caused an average of 504 spills annually on the North Slope since 1996.
For the full reports, see The Myth of Environmentally Sensitive Oil Exploration in Alaska and Existing Conservation and Alternative Technology Gains Far Outweigh Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Potential: Oil Imports Have Declined Significantly Since 2005.
Also, see Analysis of Crude Oil Production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by the Energy Information Administration.