Red fox kit, arctic national wildlife refuge, alaska.

red fox kit on the coastal plain, arctic national wildlife refuge, alaska.

Hey Folks,

I just saw this article on CNN’s website. From the first paragraph, ‘President Bush said Saturday that the Saudis’ modest increase in oil production “doesn’t solve our problem,” ‘ – The whole tone of the article is an acknowledgement that such a relatively small increase in oil supply, for the US, is meaningless. This increase could bring gas online to the American market almost immediately. At the same time, the current US administration is arguing for the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas extraction. The US Govt’s own studies yield a mean peak in oil supply from the Refuge of under 900 000 barrels a day. That peak would arrive about 10-12 years AFTER the oil supply came online – and the oil is expected to take 10-15 years to come online after any legislation allowing drilling their might be passed. In other words, it is expected, under optimal conditions, to be 25 years before that peak in supply is reached. So if the Govt decides next year to open the Refuge to drilling (fortunately the US Senate just voted it down, again, for this year), we could hope for fewer than 900 000 barrels a day to come forth in the year 2033.

The second point about this is that one of the lines being touted most strongly for drilling in the Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): the old “we need to move away from dependence on Middle Eastern oil, in the interest of national security, and to avoid funding terrorists. 15 of the 19 terrorists that hijacked the planes on September 11, 2001, and destroyed so many people’s lives were from Saudi Arabia. In my opinion, anyone suggesting we need to become independent of Middle Eastern oil has no business asking the Saudi Arabian govt to supply us with more oil. There are lots of other countries that have oil for sale.

The third point is the influence this will have on prices. Such a relatively low portion of our oil consumption is indeed, not going to hold much sway on price – estimates suggest opening the Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to drilling will, at best, maybe save us 30-40 cents a gallon. Those estimates are based on oil costing $27.00 a barrel. Oil is currently around $125.00 a barrel, so those savings would actually be even less. 25 years from now, or even 10 years from now, those savings will be even more diluted.

My point here is that the arguments for drilling in ANWR are intellectually dishonest, if not outright lies. As I said in an earlier post on this subject, there’s no information here that isn’t readily available to everyone. These people know all of this. So why would they argue the way they do? It’s not because drilling for oil in ANWR will help you or I, but that it will facilitate massive profits for those vested in the oil industry. I certainly don’t question that – 10 billion barrels of oil, at today’s prices, amounts to 1000 billion (1 trillion) dollars worth of oil, over time. So that’s why some people argue so adamantly that oil development is a good thing. For those people, there’s an awful lot of retirement funds at stake. I’m sure, for those people, drilling for oil in ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) is indeed a good thing. But for the rest of us, for the caribou, the polar bear, the arctic fox, even the sly red fox like this young kit you see in the photo above, leaving the refuge alone, not drilling it, but enjoying a non-exploitive, non-extractive relationship with it, is, in my opinion, a much better choice.



PS – just to acknowledge my bias. I’ll be visiting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) 6 weeks from now, spending 2 weeks floating the Canning River, from the Upper Marsh Fork near the Continental Divide in the Brooks Range, 120 miles northward, out of the mountains and across the coastal plain to the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean. I can’t wait.

5 thoughts on “Red fox kit, arctic national wildlife refuge, alaska.

  1. Mark

    Nice post Carl. The ironies in the news seem to be everywhere don’t they? I like the photo here, it offers a wonderful sense of place. I like small in the frame animal shots such as this one.

    I think the problem with much of the American public is that they simply buy into the rhetoric and sound bits. All they need to hear are the words “independence from Middle east” and “reduce oil prices” and all of the sudden they are all for it. I don’t know how many times I have heard people talk about Iraq and 9/11 in the same sentence – a real shame they are still associating the two because of the guy at the top who does the same thing. Maybe a function of just being too busy, or maybe a function of apathy in just wanting to be ‘taken care of.’ Who knows.

  2. Beth Lunsford

    Yeah, old Bush would really benefit from drilling, since his family has been in oil for a long time. That , I think , was a big incentive for the Iraq war, too. Not to “steal ” their oil, but to make sure that a big share of it comes to the U.S. & have strategic airbases all over Iraq to strike our enemies. I just read a book by Karsten Huer called ” Being Caribou “. Excellent true story about he & his newlywed wife Leanne Allison following the caribou herd through migration , calving, & Post-calving. Check it out!Sounds like a great trip,Carl. Will you be on the river the whole way? P.S. Love the red fox shot!!

  3. Carl Donohue

    Hey Mark,

    Thanks man. Yes, it’s crazy. And the follow up of this is that the next day George Bush lectured the leaders of the Middle Eastern countries on the need for them to diversify their economies, as they’re running out of oil. Crazy.

    Ya know, the points you made are 100% correct. Because we live in a culture of advertising. Everything is branding – that’s the way we’ve become so conditioned to learn. Slogans work – as something like an issue of war can be reduced to “God Bless America”. Which I’ve no problem with the idea of that, but I think for many other reasons, the conversation sorta ends there, which is not very conducive to awareness.

    Hey Beth,

    Thanks for all your posts on the Arctic national Wildlife Refuge pages. I appreciate you reading over them again. “Being Caribou” is great. I want to see the DVD – I should’ve checked it out before.

    The river runs all the way from our landing strip to the coast, where we’ll be picked up .. but we’ll do plenty of walking and exploring along the way. I can’t wait!



  4. Beth Lunsford

    Sounds like a really great trip! Stay safe, as always!! Hey, I didn’t even know they have a DVD out on that. Good to know! You know, Governer Palin wants so badly to open up the ANWR National Forest. I think in time, unfortunately, the Government will win.

  5. Carl Donohue

    Hey Beth,

    Yeah, check out the DVD – it’s very cool.

    Governor Palin is pretty keen on opening the Refuge, yes – and maybe one day that’ll happen, but I sure hope not! 🙂



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