- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Ironically, much of the fuel that America uses to fight its war on terrorism may actually come from its former or current enemies in the Middle East, even while one of its largest domestic sources lies untouched under the frozen tundra of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
As the United States gears up for battle, it should gear down for drilling ANWR. In fact, it simply cannot afford not to.
America needs the energy: Our dependence on foreign oil is at more than 50 percent, with much of it coming from the Middle East. That energy supply is at best tenuous, as many of the nations who supply it have little love for the United States. Nearly three decades ago, their actions helped to plunge the nation into an energy crisis. Should the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) put another crimp into the nation's energy pipeline, the cost to the United States could be enormous. While the leaders of OPEC calculate and plot, an estimated 6 billion to 16 billion barrels of ANWR oil await development by Americans.
America needs the jobs: It is estimated that the development of ANWR's oil reserves could create 736,000 jobs, according to Wharton Econometrics Forecasting Associates. With the global economy teetering on the verge of recession, with unemployment rising and with consumer confidence declining, Americans need more jobs jobs for steelmakers and pipefitters, for oil drillers and fuel suppliers.
America can afford the caribou. Even if the lifestyles of a few caribou are altered, the alternative is far worse.
America can't afford the blood: 148 soldiers died defending freedom during the Gulf War, 17 sailors perished in the attack on the USS Cole and more than 5,000 people almost certainly perished in Tuesday's terrifying attacks. Americans go in harm's way every day to protect our energy supplies. Caribou aren't more valuable than American citizens.
America can't afford alternatives: Between 1978 and 1998, the U.S. Department of Energy poured more than $10 billion into the research and development of alternative energy sources, according to a report by the U.S. General Accounting Office, yet such sources still supply a small fraction of the nation's energy needs.
The Senate should move speedily to approve the House-passed measure opening ANWR to oil exploration, or at least its own version of the bill, S.388. It simply cannot afford not to.

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