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Letter to Editor

    Arctic oil reserves offer an energy alternative

    BY Monte E. Seehorn
    11/28/2005
    by Monte E. Seehorn on 11/28/05.

    In one of her recent columns, Joan King, as usual, blames the Bush administration for all our energy problems. She takes it to task for considering nuclear power, and for even considering drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She furthermore criticizes the administration for developing energy policies "behind closed doors."

    I respect Joan for her concern and efforts to educate herself about issues, and to then pass on information to the public. I get a little tired, however, of her constant criticism and negative attitude to every approach the Bush administration takes to resolving issues. Surely it has done something she can appreciate.

    As for developing policies "behind closed doors," what would she have them do? Set up public voting booths to decide every issue? If so, we need to do away with elected representatives and the army of technical specialists the government has hired to handle such problems.

    If the "majority of the public have opposed drilling in ANWAR," it's because of people or groups like her using the media to present their own uninformed or special interest views. I don't know enough about nuclear power to question her statements about that subject, but Joan appears to have limited her research on oil drilling and its effects on wildlife to the Sierra Club library.

    The administration is looking into alternative sources of energy, as it should. You can't, however, simply go "cold turkey" and do away with major industries that currently support our overall economy, even if there are some reasonable alternatives. So far, there are no viable alternatives that would allow us to do away with the petroleum industry.

    Because we are going to be dependent on oil, at least to some degree, for the immediate future, it would behoove us to reduce our dependency on other nations for oil supplies.

    One solution, decried by Joan and environmental groups, would be to drill for oil in the Arctic refuge. They whine, at great length, about how drilling would be a major impact to wildlife, and would destroy the caribou herd in the refuge.

    The refuge encompasses 16 million acres. The proposed drilling would be limited to 2,000 or 3,000 acres of tundra. With such an infinitesimally small percentage of the acreage potentially affected, such charges appear ridiculous.

    Furthermore, who knows how the caribou will adapt to changes even in the local operation area. Preservation groups made similar charges when the Alaska pipeline was proposed, stating that migration routes and the caribou herds would be destroyed. It didn't happen then, and it won't happen now.

    We've been drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico for many years without destroying that ecosystem. I'm convinced that we also have the technology to drill in ANWAR without destroying the ecosystem.

    Monte E. Seehorn
    FreedomWorks Activist
    Gainesville