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May 29, 2008


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Bill Wilson

Having been on both sides of the "ANWR issue" my observation is that I think there has been a lot of misleading rhetoric on costs/benefits of developing ANWR. Clearly, those who espouse not developing the 10 02 area invoke data on how little the oil will affect our consumption bottom line, how damaging the development process will be to caribou, and on and on. I think it would serve society and the general dialogue on this issue to assemble unbiased facts, which are difficult to find, in my opinion. I've seen data that indicate ANWR oil and gas would add a great deal to the Nation's energy supplies. And I do assert from my environmental studies in Alaska's coastal Arctic that the 10 02 area can be developed without all this harm people assert. Caribou will not all die - spills will not necessarily happen - the earth will not heat up more - fish will continue to migrate and thrive in the region, as will shorebirds, waterfowl, caribou, etc. I believe the REAL issue here is the emotional reaction. ANWR has been painted as the last wilderness, and unspoiled area, a unique habitat, etc. and people just don't like the idea of human activities, development, roads and drilling pads, gravel transport, drilling noise, and pipeline operations occurring in this area. All of that can be done responsibly - but many in society don't like the idea of developing this area. So this is an issue of perception, feelings, and mores - not factual destruction.

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  • We'll have a lot of decisions to make in the face of Arctic climate change. This blog is about the range of available choices, and about the tradeoffs involved in making them. Ben Muse, an Alaskan economist, is the blogger. Muse works for a resource management agency. However, any opinions expressed here are his and not necessarily the positions of any former or current employer. In the interests of full disclosure, Muse's current employer has fisheries, marine habitat, endangered species, and marine mammal management responsibilities in the Arctic.

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