- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 4, 2001

After strong lobbying by the Teamsters, the House on Thursday passed the bulk of President Bush's comprehensive energy plan, the first such legislation in nearly a decade.

The bill needed all the friendly help it could get, because, in addition to calling for a variety of energy conservation and efficiency measures, it also calls for limited drilling on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

A mosquito-infested swamp that is shrouded in frozen darkness for nearly half the year, ANWR could contain a vein of up to 16 billion barrels of petroleum beneath its scaly hide. Only 2,000 acres 1/10,000 of the area, which already contains military bases and a small community of Eskimos (who have called for such drilling by large pluralities) is likely to be touched by the drilling. Yet that hasn't stopped limousine liberals from teaming up against such legislation.

For his part, Sen. John Kerry (who is worth an estimated $620 million) has promised to filibuster any bill that calls for drilling at ANWR. However, all energy choices involve trade-offs, including the choice to use energy at all. Energy production may well come at the price of disrupting "pristine" areas, and yet the alternative is a nation that resembles ANWR in its pristine state cold and dark.

There are other consequences as well. As it stands, U.S. dependency on foreign oil hovers at higher than 50 percent. In other words, every other time an American goes for a fill-up, he enriches the sheiks of OPEC, the clerics of Iran or the tyrant of Iraq. Far better to make use of resources under America's own control especially since it can be achieved without harm to the environment, the false cries of critics to the contrary notwithstanding.

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