March 19, 2006


Arctic refuge drilling back on the table (MSNBC, 3/17/06)

The Republican-led push to open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling is back on Congress’ table, after the Senate included that provision in its $2.8 trillion budget bill.

Democrats were unable to block the provision after one of their own, Sen. Mary Landrieu, supported the budget bill, which passed 51-49 on Thursday.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 19, 2006 4:59 PM

Wahoo Right?

Posted by: Pepys at March 19, 2006 5:28 PM

The yahoos have blocked progress for forty years. Let's get started on nuclear energy plants ASAP too. Move over hippie dippies and let the adults bring us into the 21st century.

Posted by: erp at March 19, 2006 6:55 PM

51-49 with Landreau means 5 GOP voted against - probably the New Englanders. Also I believe Coleman of MN is against ANWR and there is speculation that ANWR would hurt Kennedy's chances of picking up the MN Senate seat for the GOP.

Posted by: AWW at March 19, 2006 7:06 PM

(hit post too soon) Approval of ANWR should help lower oil prices (as the market factors in future supply) and create jobs as the oil companies begin to work on the site - both of which should help Bush and the GOP.

Posted by: AWW at March 19, 2006 7:10 PM

After Katrina, Landrieu has to vote with the Republicans on probably every issue, lest her seat be filled with one in January 2009.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 19, 2006 7:22 PM

Sen. Landrieu's vote is no mystery even discounting Katrina. New Iberia/Lafeyette has one of the US' most attractive petroleum fabricating facilities. She's just looking out for her State in hope of fabricating sealift equipment for ANWR.

Posted by: Tom Wall at March 19, 2006 8:14 PM

There isn't enough oil to mattter, but the market long ceased being rational.

Posted by: oj at March 19, 2006 8:59 PM

Of course it's symbolic. The Pagan, Dirt-worshiping Left suffers few defeats as it is, so every one of these signs of the impending "final days" for Gaia should be celebrated. A few more such defeats, and the imposition of their religious beliefs (like their opposition to fission reactors) on the rest of us will no longer be taken as a given.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 19, 2006 10:38 PM

"There isn't enough oil to mattter, but the market long ceased being rational."

For once, I agree with oj. Gassed up last Saturday at $2.23 for a gallon of regular unleaded. On Monday, the same gallon was $2.45. Nothing happened in 48 hrs to cause a 12-cent increase.

Posted by: sharon at March 19, 2006 11:31 PM

Oops...a 22-cent increase.

Posted by: sharon at March 19, 2006 11:31 PM

People need to stop making unsubtantiated commeents like "there is not enought oil to matter." Only those oppossing the drilling are giving unrealisticly low estimates. Of course no one knows for sure, but lets bring some sense to the debate.

Posted by: Doug at March 19, 2006 11:50 PM


Several major refineries (in PA, in CA, and in the Caribbean) are shut down for maintenance. Mostly planned, some not. It will be a disruption to the 'spot' market for a few weeks, and then we'll be in the spring/summer driving season. Prices may not come back down at all.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 19, 2006 11:51 PM

1st stop Alaska, next stop the Gulf of Mexico.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 20, 2006 12:12 AM

Same thing in Texas -- due to the EPA mandated gasoline formulations for urban areas to limit smog pollution, the refineries have to shift over from winter (October 1-April 1) formulations to summer formulations in March, and then back again in September, which is why the twin hurricanes last fall in the New Orleans and Port Arthur areas were a double-whammy for the Gulf Coast refineries.

The prices at all but one station where I am in West Texas jumped 20 cents a gallon last week (apparently the folks at Flying J locked in their $2.25.9 prices for a little while longer). While the size of the increase can be argued, the reason for the timing of increase has been common knowledge for years.

Posted by: John at March 20, 2006 12:17 AM

Well, the Bush Administration, which favors drilling, estimates less than a 50 cent a barrel impact. That just doesn't matter.

Posted by: oj at March 20, 2006 6:49 AM

Had ANWAR drilling begun in 1995 the oil would have just come on line last year, so don't expect anything soon. Doug is correct and regardless, every drop in the domestic bucket will help even if it arrives alongside the hydrogen fuel cells debut. I personnaly don't believe the oil companies would be involved if there weren't reasonable expectations anticipated at ANWAR. Ask Al Gore for his estimate if you want to be lowballed.

Posted by: Genecis at March 20, 2006 2:56 PM

P.S. If you want to find the cheapest gasoline in your area go to on the net.

Posted by: Genecis at March 20, 2006 3:02 PM

We might eventually get 10 billion barrels of oil out of ANWR, enough to satisfy the entire current global demand for 4 months.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 20, 2006 4:57 PM

four whole months five years from now?

Posted by: oj at March 20, 2006 5:01 PM

oj - It may not decreases prices much ($0.50/barrel sounds about right), but it will change the destination of the $60/barrel we spend from foreigners to the U.S. government. And we're talking $600 billion worth of oil, or $2000 for every man, woman, and child in America, spread over 20 years.

Since all we have to do to get it is the equivalent of bending over and picking up a $20 bill, it's a good deal.

Posted by: pj at March 20, 2006 5:44 PM

We won't be using enough gas in twenty years for it to be worth pumping.

Posted by: oj at March 20, 2006 5:48 PM

oj's right about not using a lot of gas in 20 years, but it's still worth doing.

Posted by: erp at March 20, 2006 7:58 PM

We'll be using plenty of gas, diesel, and jet fuel twenty years from now, plus lubricants and plastic.

"Four whole months" of supplying the entire globe is A Big Deal.

Even if we get large scale cellulose ethanol or biodiesel production facilities, or solar power stations, up and running full blast, we'll still be using enormous quantities of petroleum in twenty years.
It'll just be cheaper than it is now.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 21, 2006 12:31 AM