Most of us are aware of the great debate over drilling for oil in ANWR, or the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in Alaska. President Bush promoted the idea, indeed he campaign on it. The Democrats, and some Republicans including Senator McCain, opposed it. Now that we are in need of increasing oil supply, without depending on the Middle East, should we revisit the ANWR question? I was on the fence, ever so slightly, until I saw these photos. In this case a photo is worth a thousand words and several are worth all the proof I needed to support drilling in ANWR. I wonder if most of the opponents have been to ANWR or seen these photos? I wonder what they would say if they did?

It is worth a comparison to get some perspective on the size and scope of the ANWR region.Camprison_of_anwr_to_us_5


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Note that the development would take place in the ANWR Coastal region and the place where this is and its tiny size in comparison with the region and the state. Listening to debates you would think we would destroy all of Alaska’s natural beauty if we drilled in ANWR.

ANWR is a truly beautiful place, as these photos will clearly show you.

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So why destroy the beauty of this pristine place. Should we not conserve it and protect it? I completely agree that we should. But the photos above do not look like the real ANWR because they are not photos of the area where we would actually drill.

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Summer_landscape_in_anwr


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This, in other words, is what ANWR looks like in the summer and winter. Not exactly the same as the photos of the beautiful place we saw above.

And here are some Google photos from space of the drilling area.

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We are thus told that the opponents of ANWR want to preserve the beauty and natural grandeur of this deserted place.

We are further told the wildlife will be destroyed in ANWR. Well look at the photo of the wildlife near a present drilling site in Prudhoe.Caribou_at_drilling_site

And this bear seen at the drilling site at Prudhoe Bay says it all!Bear_on_pipe_2

We presently get 17% of all our domestic oil from Prudhoe Bay. ANWR would dramatically increase U.S. oil production, which would clearly help with the critical supply problem we now face and keep us from further involvement in the political mess in the Middle East. In addition to this drilling will help keep the price of gasoline in check, something some politicians do not want since it is their "political chip" to use to attempt changes they want to bring about in American policy and direction.

The problem here is that radical conservationists (I am a conservationist but not a radical one) have influenced many of the members of Congress to vote against drilling in ANWR. Some of the more liberal of these congressional members actually want to raise the price of gasoline because they want us to use more public transportation and they want to radically alter our (suburban) lifestyle. I believe we should alter our lifestyle. Consumerism is harmful to spiritual health. And I see consumerism as an issue that very few Christians want to seriously address. I have been intentionally altering my consumption but I do not think it is the role of Congress to force an economic situation that requires this through lawmaking that will make us more dependent on foreign oil and less on American supply and creative solutions to energy use in the coming decade.

As for oil spills, and the danger these are to our environment, did you know that Hurricane Katrina knocked out scores of offshore wells and not one drop of oil was spilled into the Gulf of Mexico? Modern drilling is safe, efficient and these supposed threat problems to the environment are almost all "bogeymen." I think the American people are going to get enough of the high price of gasoline and if any issue catches on in the coming months, as we approach the general election, this one is likely to be it.

I have read the arguments for the environment, pro and con, and respect a great deal of what is written about conservation from many quarters. (I am not a fan of the Rush Limbaugh response to the environment at all.) What I do not respect is the blatant silliness of some of the arguments that seem more intent on harming the United States and its national safety than on protecting the environment. I also think that if you seriously look beneath many of these issues you will generally find a strong group of leaders who want to radically alter our economic policy on energy so that they can recreate a society that will fit their agenda. This is one reason why I do not trust radical liberal political philosophy to lead govern. (I am also not a conspiratorialist about these things.)

Radical liberal political philosophy just has too much confidence in what a bigger and wiser (?) federal government can do for us. I fear these developments much more than all the energy/environment issues that are now on the table.