When someone asks you whether you support drilling in ANWR, you will most likely think of the beautiful news shots of Alaska and Alaskan wildlife, and you will think of the poor indigenous people there, and of course you will say no. But how much do you know about the issue? How much do you care?

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge lies in the northeastern corner of Alaska and is about the size of South Carolina. The proposed drilling and exploration area, in a northern area of ANWR adjacent to the Beaufort Sea, known as the Coastal Plain, comprises about 8 percent of the refuge.

The US Geological Survey says there are several billion barrels of oil in the Coastal Plain. Industry experts say development would require no more than 2,000 acres. 2,000 acres is not bigger than Dulles Airport and is actually fifty times smaller than Ted Turner’s Montana Ranch.

Popular consensus ? among all of the political spectrum ? for decades declared ANWR a great place for drilling. An article in the Washington Post from 14 years ago claimed it could not conceive of anywhere else where “drilling would have less impact on the surrounding life.”

Directional drilling and other new technology now do the job of twelve older drills. Developers build enviro-friendly ice roads and haul off all refuse created as well.

The Gwich’in people have also been referenced by the far left. It’s too bad nobody knows that the Gwich’in live hundreds of miles away from the Coastal Plain or that over a decade ago they invited oil companies to inspect their land, only to be told they had no oil.

Unless better arguments can be made, there is no apparent reason for not drilling in ANWR.

You’ve heard national Republicans repeat that we need to reduce dependence on foreign oil, and, while ANWR drilling is not the sole answer, it is an integral part of the solution. Russia’s emergence and development of rule by law and capitalist free markets have led to previously unrealized oil supplies from somewhere outside of OPEC and the Middle East.

After Sept. 11, it would be keen to turn our attention to helping rebuild our Cold War adversary, instead of funding Islamic fundamentalists. And yes, rational alternative energy solutions must be pursued. But for now, let’s explore the Coastal Plain and take the rest of our demand to Russia.

UR Reps can be reached at republican@campustimes.org.

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An open letter to all members of any university community

I strongly oppose the proposed divestment resolution. This resolution is nothing more than another ugly manifestation of antisemitism at the University.