USA Still Lacking Energy Policy

Editorial argues that oil supplies from ANWR, or anywhere else, are temporary. Conservation and development of renewable energy sources are permanent.

Published: 19-Mar-2005

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For too long, the United States has not had an energy policy that balances exploration, conservation and development of alternative fuels. Instead, there has been an unending series of disputes pitting environmentalists against oil companies and other energy producers.

On Wednesday, supporters of oil exploration won a round in the U.S. Senate, which voted 51-49 for legislation that would pave the way for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on the north shore of Alaska. The vote leaves intact a provision in the federal budget bill that opens part of the region to oil production.

The contentious debate about drilling in ANWR over the past quarter century has produced exaggerated claims of benefits and dangers. Supporters of the drilling say it would help the United States free itself from dependency on foreign oil and lower gasoline prices. Opponents charge that drilling in the refuge would destroy the environment and threaten caribou, polar bears, birds and other species, as well as set a dangerous precedent for offshore drilling elsewhere.

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