Oil Drilling in the Arctic Could Protect America and the Environment

October 26, 2016

Article written by Donald Loren, a retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the George W. Bush administration. He is a national liaison for Vets4Energy.

In April, I cautioned that an American ban on drilling in the Atlantic Ocean would diminish national security. It is deeply unsettling that our federal administration decided to block oil and gas exploration there. But the even more disconcerting news is that a similar situation is now taking shape in Alaska.

The latest indications from Washington D.C. suggest that the White House is considering imposing a similar ban in the Arctic, leaving the Gulf of Mexico as the only available area in the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. That decision would effectively mean that the very first opportunity for the energy industry to even explore for oil and gas reserves in the Arctic would be 2023, likely precluding any chance of future development until the mid-2030s or later.

The primary argument cited against Arctic drilling is that the environmental risks of a spill would have a potentially catastrophic impact on the fragile ecology of the far north. But that position ignores an important point: Other countries continue to explore for resources in Arctic waters, regardless of what we do here. Norway in fact opened up new parts of the Barents Sea earlier this summer.

The most effective way to ensure that development of global resources takes places in a safe and responsible manner is through the creation of a robust set of international regulations that lay out exactly how industry must respond in the event of a spill. America can only claim a mandate to shape these regulations if we allow development in our own portion of the Arctic.

Equally important, offshore energy development in the Arctic can bolster our national security in two critical ways. In the short term, by building out the regional infrastructure we badly need. In the long, by securing our energy supply for many decades....

Read entire article at Time.com.


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