An Obligatory Ode To First In Line When BLM Pulls Back From Opening Up More Energy Sources

The Obama administration was an absolute disaster for the environment in general and on fossil fuels in particular. It is this legacy that the incoming administration is now determined to erase by preventing drilling…

An Obligatory Ode To First In Line When BLM Pulls Back From Opening Up More Energy Sources

The Obama administration was an absolute disaster for the environment in general and on fossil fuels in particular. It is this legacy that the incoming administration is now determined to erase by preventing drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, cutting the land set aside for offshore drilling, and stopping future drilling from being allowed across the country.

The new report from the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) documents what the White House already knows. The more that the agency tries to resist expanding drilling in Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, the more green groups are fighting back, throwing lawsuits at the agency.

The administration wants to drastically expand drilling in other areas, which is why the Interior Department’s new environmental review in Alaska is surprisingly short on mention of climate change.

“The report states: ‘Deep seismic survey preparation and drilling require careful consideration of the local environment and the possible effects that they may have on fish and wildlife’” the Wall Street Journal reported last week. “The report notes that deep seismic surveys are generally not undertaken in areas where climate change is already being felt, specifically in areas such as the Arctic, but that areas with large tracts of accessible land and brackish water are still required for seismic surveys.”

If you want to look at the impact of climate change on Alaskan wildlife, this document would be useless in the effort. Let’s take a look at the American Petroleum Institute’s annual report, released in February, which shows the rapid increase in carbon dioxide emissions in Alaska:

As of 2015, Alaskan carbon dioxide emissions had increased by nearly a quarter of a million tons, a figure greater than the annual emissions from Germany, the eighth largest economy in the world.

Just last week, the group Oil Change International (OCI) detailed in an explosive report published on Medium just how the Alaskan oil spill on March 2 that killed dozens of birds and marine mammals had a devastating effect on Alaska.

[H/T Todd Zwillich for the transcript]

It is disgusting that the Interior Department, which is a federal agency, would reject an opportunity to discuss climate change and its direct impacts on Alaskan wildlife. The vast majority of Alaskans understand that the impact of climate change on the state’s land, air, and sea is a foregone conclusion. This report is proof of the administration’s abandonment of the state.

But to make matters worse, Alaskans have more oil than any other place in the United States. A recent analysis of drilling on Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge shows that there is enough oil to last America 100 years:

An analysis by Duke University political scientist Richard Heede and colleagues shows that drilling from a variety of sites from Susitna to Cook Inlet and all the way to Aleutian Island could meet up to 24 percent of our oil imports by 2030.

In other words, there is enough oil that petroleum companies could quickly ramp up production, providing a significant means to combat the United States’ climate change problem.

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