The Instigator
RoyLatham
Pro (for)
Winning
22 Points
The Contender
HempforVictory
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points

The U.S. should legalize and encourage drilling in ANWR

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/4/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,867 times Debate No: 6416
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (5)

 

RoyLatham

Pro

Definitions. ANWR is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. For this debate "drilling in ANWR" means commercial drilling and recovery of oil and gas within the boundaries of ANWR, and construction of a pipeline to facilitate transportation of the recovered fuels. "Legalize" means to remove any executive orders prohibiting such drilling, and to pass legislation that provides for leasing the limited areas as described in existing proposals to commercial interests for development. "Encourage" means taking legal steps to prevent lawsuits that unduly tie up development, and refraining from enacting excessive taxes or placing other burdens that would make development uneconomic or delayed. Nothing in the resolution prevents reasonable requirements and inspections with respect environmental safeguards such as are now mandated for drilling on the North Slope.

The reasons for favoring this resolution are:

1. The security of the United States will be enhanced by reducing dependence upon foreign oil. The greater the energy-independence of the country, the less the potential threat from foreign powers threatening to cut off energy supplies and the less the impact from any action that attempts to do so.

2. The economic well-being of the United States will be enhanced by reducing foreign trade deficits. For the purposes of this debate, I will assume that the price of oil is set internationally, and will not be affected by increased U.S. production. The economic benefit derives from the oil being purchased domestically rather than money being drained out of the economy. The benefit to the U.S. economy is will be $1.15 trillion dollars if the average price of oil over the life of the project is $115 per barrel. It may be more than that, depending upon the price of oil seven to twenty years from now, and the ability of future technology to economically recovery of reserves. Currently, only about half of the estimated reserves are economically recoverable. The economic arguments are given and quantified at http://factspluslogic.com......

Because I am not arguing that the price of oil will drop as a consequence of new drilling, the length of time it takes to bring the resources on line is not relevant. By all accounts we will have foreign trade deficits to offset for at least the next thirty years.

3. The State of Alaska, the Inuit people, and the Federal government will substantially benefit from increased tax revenues. The Inuit people and the State of Alaska both favor drilling.

4. The fact that the word "wildlife" is in the ANWR name does not mean there is a substantial wildlife population. The US also has National Forests that have no trees. ANWR is barren tundra with few life forms. There is negligible danger to the environment because

4.1 Experience with drilling on the North slope showed five-fold increases in the size of caribou herds, and no harm to the population of any wildlife species.

4.2 The area subject to drilling in ANWR is desolate, and the area to be drilled is tiny. ANWR is roughly the size of South Carolina ( a little smaller than Portugal) and the area to be drilled is about the size of the Charleston airport. The ratio is that of the size of postage stamp to a football field.

4.3 Major drilling activity is in winter, when there is essentially no wildlife present at all.

4.4 Modern technology reduces environmental risk and harm compared to the North slope, which nonetheless suffered no significant harm.

4.5 The risk due to oil tanker spills is reduced because the oil will travel a shorter distance by tanker than with the alternative of buying foreign oil.

5. Drilling on existing offshore oil leases for untapped reserves is not a viable alternative to drilling in ANWR because the cost of recovery is too high to make it economic. http://factspluslogic.com...... Oil prices are extremely volatile, and it takes many years to recover a drilling investment. Consequently, an upward spike in oil prices does not produce an immediate corresponding investment in expensive-to-recover oil. Investors look ahead to the likely prices in the long run. The end result is that oil that is less expensive to recover will always be tapped first, so we need to make as much available as possible.

Summary. Drilling in ANWR will not by itself achieve energy independence or end trade deficits. Nonetheless, the amounts are significant. We might, for example, reasonably expect to offset the entire cumulative foreign trade deficit with China. This can be accomplished with no expenditure of taxpayer dollars; in fact it will bring substantial revenues into the Treasury.
HempforVictory

Con

Thanks for offering me this debate, I hope to be more of a challenge than your previous opponent.

Before I begin, I think it is pertinent to define exactly how much oil may be produced in ANWR.

The mean (expected value) estimate is 10.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

"# Projected ANWR peak production rates range from 650,000 to 1.9 million barrels per day across the 6 cases.
# For the mean resource case (10.3 billion barrels technically recoverable), ANWR peak production rates range from 1.0 to 1.35 million barrels per day."
http://www.eia.doe.gov...

1. The security of the United States will not be enhanced because we will still be largely dependent on foreign oil sources. We currently consume 20.8 million bbl/day, and that number is expected to grow by the time ANWR would be producing. We currently produce 7.6 million bbl/day. The fact of the matter is that even if that number were raised to 8.6 million bbl/day, we would still be very dependent upon the same oil-producing countries that we currently are, so we would not be any more secure.

2. It is true that GDP would increase by opening ANWR to oil drilling, but this is not synonymous with enhancing the economic well-being of our country. If the price of oil does not decline as my opponent agrees, ordinary Americans would see no benefit from the increased oil production. The $1.15 trillion (which assumes a price of $115/bbl and 10 billion bbl available) would go mostly to the executives of the oil company(s) that get the contract, especially if drilling is "encouraged" by means of low taxes. (I don't understand why you posted a link to your own website, which does not seem to be relevant anyway)

For the sake of simplicity, I will agree for now that the length of time before production begins is irrelevant. However, I do need to mention that the peak production rates quoted above occur 5 to 10 years after development, and are only sustained for a few years at best before declining. This is an important factor when considering the value of ANWR oil, because although the destruction is everlasting, the oil is not.

3. The Inuit do not depend on the Caribou for food, but the Gwich'in Indians do and are very much against drilling in ANWR. (The Inuit are a whaling tribe, thus they do oppose off-shore oil drilling. They support drilling in ANWR because they stand to profit from it.)

4. The Porcupine Caribou Herd (PCH) is one of the largest remaining herds in the world with nearly 200,000 Caribou, and many other species inhabit the coastal plain where oil development is proposed.
http://www.anwr.org...

4.1 The proposed drilling area in ANWR is a prime calving area for the PCH, making it unique compared to other drilling sites on the North Slope. Also, the increase in caribou at Prudhoe Bay is partly due to the cyclical nature of herd populations and probably more due to the decrease in the local wolf population. "The USDOI predicts that up to 40% of the PCH could be harmed if the 1002 Area [in ANWR] were opened to oil development [USPIRG, 1998]."
http://elvis.engr.wisc.edu... (see figure 5)

4.2 Again, the area to be drilled is probably the most crucial area for protecting because it is the prime calving area for so many caribou. Developing this site could be catastrophic for the herd, and the Indians that depend on them.

4.3 That doesn't matter, there will still be industrial activity year-round and the caribou will be driven from their calving site.

4.4 This is true, but not sufficient to warrant drilling in ANWR.

4.5 If the oil produced in ANWR is shipped by oil tanker, the risk of a tanker spill in the environmentally sensitive region would invariably increase. Spills are also more probable in the arctic region due to ice bergs. The actual rate of transport of oil would probably not decline at all anyway, because oil is traded based on varying grades and qualities to minimize the cost to refineries. For example, you may be surprised to know that the U.S. exports some of its oil to foreign refineries.

5. "The end result is that oil that is less expensive to recover will always be tapped first, so we need to make as much available as possible."

Why? So that we maximize the profits of oil executives? I don't see any other benefit to this argument, and I think the voters will agree that higher profits for billionaires is not much of a good reason to do anything, especially something that may have dire environmental consequences. (again my opponent references his own website, why?)

Until we substantially reduce our disproportionately high consumption rate, the oil production potential of ANWR will not be significant enough to warrant the environmental burden that it brings. We will still be greatly dependent upon foreign countries so our security will not improve. Our trade deficit with China will certainly not go away, we don't even import oil from China.
Debate Round No. 1
RoyLatham

Pro

Yes, it is about 10 billion barrels in ANWR recoverable with current technology. there is believed to be about twice that much oil there. More will be recoverable as technology advances.

1. (a) Con argues that national security is not improved because it is only advanced, not completely solved. This challenges the definition of the word "improved." How exactly does not Con define "improved" so that an improvement do not make a situation "improved"?

(b) The argument is presented that we should not develop ANWR because that only provides 10 billion barrels. Separately, arguments are made by opponents that we should not drill off-shore, not develop oil shale, not develop coal-to-oil conversion, and so forth. Energy independence cannot be achieved without making all the incremental improvements we can. Each step moves us closer.

(c) The U.S. gets about 2.2 million barrels http://www.eia.doe.gov... per day from the Middle East. about half of that could be supplanted by ANWR production alone. It is the Middle East that is the major problem. President-elect Obama has recognized that the current level of dependence upon the Middle East is a major problem. We have seen that even minor variations in the oil supply, such as the shutdown of oil platforms and refineries after Hurricane Katrina, produce serious consequences. Therefore national security would be significantly improved by reducing this dependence.

2. a. Con argues that if foreign trade deficits were reduced by $1 trillion then consumers would not receive benefits. I know of no economist or elected official anywhere in the US that remotely agrees with that assertion. Economists of every stripe agree that consumers would benefit from reduced foreign trade deficits. McCain, Obama, Clinton (Bill and Hillary both), and Bush all recognize that trade deficits are a serious problem, and all have addressed them in various ways that acknowledge a serious problem. The trade deficit issue is the major reason that ANWR drilling ought to be encouraged. We are debating an amount of money comparable to the cumulative trade deficit with China.

b. At the peak of the high oil prices, oil company executives were receiving about $0.00012 per gallon. http://factspluslogic.com... I challenge con to show the calculation that supports his conclusion that most of the money from ANWR would go to oil company executives. I reference my own website mainly to show calculations and provide links to references relevant to the debate. I invite Con to reference his own calculations, for example, or those of anyone else that support his contention that oil company executive receive the bulk of oil revenues. I can copy the calculations here if con agrees to then respond with solid data to refute then. His numbers are off by about a factor of a million.

c. It takes about $100K per year to support a new job. If we average $1 trillion of production over ten years, that is about (10^11 / (10^5 *10)) = 100,000 jobs per year that could be retained in the US rather than sent overseas due to the change in capital flow. that is of great benefit to consumers.

d. The trade deficit is offset by ANWR regardless of how is was incurred. Money not sent to Saudi Arabia can be used to pay off the debt to China.

3. Compare one Eskimo tribe opposing drilling to Teddy Kennedy and his friends opposing wind power off Cape Cod. It is inevitable that there be some local opposition to whatever changes things from the way they are. The great majority of Alaskans and Eskimos favor it, just as we may suppose that most Massachusetts residents would favor economic wind power over their honored Senator's objections. The concerns about caribou populations declining are unfounded, as we know from Prudhoe Bay experience, and if they did decline, the tribe would nonetheless be substantially enriched from the oil revenues. The potential risk of a lifestyle change cannot be compelling.

4. (1-2) The question is whether having oil pumps and pipelines interferes at all with caribou calving, and if there so to what extent. The sources I cited show than caribou have calves within a hundred yards of operations and that caribou populations have grown enormously during the Prudhoe Bay operations. I challenge Pro to show why the caribou in ANWR should panic at the sight of an oil derrick, when they do not in Prudhoe Bay. If it were true that oil field operations were devastating to caribou populations, then clearly it would have proved devastating there. It was not. Con argues that the impact of Prudhoe Bay operations was negligible compared to normal fluctuations that caused the growth. That is correct, the impact was negligible. Herds will increase and decrease without any impact.

Opponents claim that the Porcupine Caribou have about 11,900 square kilometers of calving area of which 43% is somewhere within the 1002 area where drilling to occur. http://www.taiga.net... Area 1002 has 1.5 million acres http://arctic.fws.gov... of which 2000 is proposed to be used for drilling. The basis of the reference Pro gives that 40% of the herd "could be harmed" is that about that percentage goes somewhere through the entire 1002 region. It is not evidence that a single animal would in fact be harmed. Thus 0.057% of the calving area would be directly affected by drilling. There is no reason to suppose that caribou are unwilling to go anywhere near a drilling area, and in fact we know that calving occurs within a few hundred yards. If the caribou-adverse area were 15 times the actual area used, it still be only about 1% of the calving area.

Populations of wildlife naturally fluctuate by factors of ten or more. Consequently even if there were some measurable impact from drilling operations, the population could be expected to recover naturally after the operations ceased. It is at worst temporary.

4.3 con argues that because there is industrial activity in the winter, that caribou will be driven away in the summer. Pro should explain. In the summer, the structures continue to exist, but nearly all the activity ceases. There is no evidence that caribou are more upset by man made objects then they are by rocks or hills.

4.4 Pro grants that modern technology has substantial reduced the threat of environmental damage from tanker spills.

4.5 The amount of oil shipped out of the US by tanker is negligible. If the US reduces imports from distant places, the net tanker traffic will drop substantially. I challenge Pro to produce evidence that the fraction of domestic oil produced shipped abroad is significant.

5. Most of the $1 trillion will go to the cost of recovering the oil, which translates direct to jobs in the U.S. Some will go to profits, so in the "worst case" scenario painted by Con, vast wealth will accumulate in the US that would otherwise accumulate in Saudi Arabia. US companies will invest nearly all of that wealth, which is exactly what the Saudis do. That is a very good thing for the U.S. The oil companies mainly invest in energy, but stockholders will invest in all sorts of productive enterprises that produce jobs. The simplest element of Economics 101 is that it is far better to have money retained within a country than flowing out of it. There is no reputable opinion that denies it, and Pro can cite none.

I'm all in favor of reducing consumption, but there is no possibility that will eliminate imports over the time span relevant to ANWR development. What it comes down to is $1 trillion dollars in foreign trade deficit reduction, translating to jobs and wealth for Americans, versus a potential treat to 1% of the population of a caribou herd. I think the caribou can cope. The humans are in doubt.
HempforVictory

Con

1. Our security will not be improved because we will still be very much dependent on the Middle East for oil. The fact is that by the time ANWR is online and producing oil, exports from the Middle East will have doubled. " As world crude oil production capacity expands by an average 2 million b/d over the next two decades, nearly 50% of the incremental production is forecast to be provided by the Persian Gulf region. Middle East oil exports could double from the present level of 18.9 million b/d." http://www.accessmylibrary.com... As long as we remain dependent on oil, we will be dependent on the Middle East, there is no escaping that fact. So for the government to actually encourage and foster our oil dependence is *decreasing* our national security, in a sense, because we would be much more secure if we weren't so addicted to cheap oil.

Also, our refining capacity would not increase if ANWR were opened to drilling. My opponent brings up a good point actually, that our refining capacity is so stretched that any extra oil produced in ANWR couldn't even be refined domestically. http://tonto.eia.doe.gov... It would have to be exported to Canada first so they can refine it, thus the only benefit to the US is the profits realized by the oil companies. We currently export more than half a million bbl/day to Canada so they can refine it and sell it back to us at a higher value. http://tonto.eia.doe.gov... Refinery capacity needs to be increased before we start talking about opening ANWR up to drilling.

2. (a) The foreign trade deficit would not be reduced by $1 trillion, $1 trillion is the total contribution to GDP over the life of the project (assuming $100/bbl). The deficit is annual (debt is absolute). The reduction to the foreign trade deficit would be 1 million bbl/day times $100/bbl (even though its less now) times 365 days = $36.5 billion. Not quite the deficit we have going with China - $256 billion in 2007. http://www.census.gov...

Economists that more than "remotely agree with me": http://benmuse.typepad.com... "Welfare benefits to U.S. oil consumers? There aren't any, except in their role of taxpayers."..."Job creation? Some in Alaska, but with full employment there would be no net job creation; jobs created on the North Slope would be taken from other industries and places."

(b) From your own website - "Exxon earned $40.8 billion in 2007." That is profit. Not money going to the hard laboring oil workers, profit. Maybe its not going to the executives, but its going to the largest share-holders of the company. Exxon has a gross profit margin of 20%, and if you apply that to the ANWR situation, whichever company gets the contract is looking at a cool $7 billion in annual profits.

(c) This is dubious. First of all, $1 trillion worth of oil isn't coming out in 10 years, not if the *peak* production rate is 1 million bbl/day. Even if the peak rate were maintained throughout the life of the project, it would take more than 27 years to extract 10 billion barrels, but it would actually take longer because the peak rate is not sustainable. Regardless, if we analyze it on an annual basis, 36.5 billion/year could be 365,000 jobs by your logic, but most of that money gets consolidated. Much of it goes to profits, taxes and other royalties, and to other firms involved in the development. The fact is that 365,000 people are not needed to extract the oil, so it doesn't make sense to think that they would be just because the revenue would warrant it. (I don't know know how you did that division btw, 1 trillion is 10^12 not 10^11).

3. The Grich'in Indians depend on the PCH for 80% of their sustenance. To downplay the necessity of the caribou to these people is insulting to their culture. And it doesn't seem as though they would receive any royalties from oil development on the coastal plain because they live to the south and east into Canada, yet they depend upon a caribou herd that may be harmed if oil development on the north coast far from their home is allowed.

4. (1-3) You cited no such source regarding caribou calving within a hundred yards of operations, not that I saw. However, I can provide extensive research proving that Caribou do indeed avoid developed areas for calving. http://arcticcircle.uconn.edu... "... after construction of a road system near Milne Point, mean caribou abundance declined by more than two-thirds within 2 km and nearly tripled 4-6 km from roads... Logically, roads comprising an oilfield complex that are on average less tha n 3 km apart may depress area wile calving activity." ... "There are now indications that caribou which spend more time in or near the oilfields are not faring as well as other members of the Central Arctic Herd which seldom encounter development" ..." Nevertheless, caribou with newborn calves still avoided developed areas, even when there was little traffic"..."consider that the Porcupine Caribou Herd is much more concentrated on its calving ground than the smaller Central Arctic Herd and may therefore be more vulnerable t o disturbance."

4.4 It is true that the threat from spills has been reduced, but they do still occur, and the last was on the North Slope in May of 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk... An oil spill in the summer on the coastal plain of ANWR could be devastating for the PCH.

4.5 I don't consider a decreased risk in the Persian Gulf for an increased risk of oil spills in Alaska to be an improvement.

5. No jobs will be created in ANWR because Alaska already has 100% employment. The only way jobs could be created (for Americans) is if unemployed workers from the contiguous US moved to the most northern part of Alaska, which is not very likely I must say. I've already cited economists that agree with this assertion. Again, the profiting of large US firms is not justification for potentially destroying the lifestyle of an indigenous tribe and threatening one of the last great untouched wildernesses in our country, or even the world for that matter. There is also no guarantee that they reinvest their money in the US, if they can get a better return in Dubai (or wherever) than that is where they will invest.

There are certainly possibilities for reducing consumption beyond the increased production that may be realized from ANWR. Perhaps we will not be able to achieve independence from oil in the next 30 years, but in order to move in that direction we need a government that is committed to phasing out our addiction by slowly making it less competitive by means of higher taxes. Opening ANWR to drilling will encourage our continued dependence on, and dangerous addiction to petroleum.
Debate Round No. 2
RoyLatham

Pro

1. I argued that "enhanced" allows for an incremental improvement. Con made no argument that an incremental improvement does not constitute enhancement. Con merely restated the problem would not be completely solved by ANWR drilling alone. My argument stands. For the complete problem to be solved, each incremental step must be allowed to proceed.

I gave the correct reference for the US imports from the Middle East, which is 2.2 million barrels per day. Con points to a page that gives no data, but 18.9 billion barrels of imports sounds like Europe, not the US. Consequently, getting 1.9 million barrels per day from ANWR would be a significant enhancement of US security.

Refinery capacity responds to demand. No company keeps idle capacity if they can avoid it. If there is more oil to be refined, then more capacity will be put on line. Only 10% of costs are in refining, so at worst Canadians get some money.

2. (a) Foreign trade deficits are cumulative. The annual foreign trade deficit is annual, but the total deficit is cumulative. One reason the debt is cumulative is that the money borrowed to pay the debt remains after the year passes, and the money paid to other countries is lost from the US economy forever. I compared the $1 trillion cumulative offset in trade deficits to the cumulative debt to China in order to demonstrate that the amount at issue is not trivial. It is $1 trillion we will not owe to a foreign nation. It cannot be trivialized.

The study cited by by Con does not pertain to the issue of whether or not trade deficits are harmful, everyone agrees they are hare harmful. The study pretends to show the benefits are small. To do that the authors start by claiming only 7.3 billion barrels in ANWR, whereas it is well established to be at least 10 million barrels, and most likely to be more, due to advances in technology. there are more than 20 billion in the ground; technology determines how much is recoverable. Second the authors assume $53/barrel oil over the 8-38 years out from the time of their study. My estimate of $115 is extremely conservative. It would be easy to justify $200. They proceed by assuming that no one would travel to Alaska to get a lucrative job in the oil fields. That is truly nonsense, as people did that to develop Prudhoe Bay, and it is happening right now in Northern Canada. Finally, and most absurd, is that these supposed economists do not take into account the indirect benefits of retaining money within the country. Suppose that the oil companies made no profits and that no taxes were paid. Nonetheless, all of the steel and equipment would be bought and the salaries paid, and there would be no debt to pay out to foreign producers of oil. Those are all enormous benefits.

(b) Yes, which ever company gets to pump ANWR will get a lot of profit. Having a US company get the profit is far better than having it shipped to the Saudis. The gross profit is about 20%, as Con says. About half of that is paid in taxes, leaving about 10% to the company. Of that, about half goes to stockholders and about half is reinvented in developing new sources of energy. The stockholders include 401K plans, college endowment funds, and rich guys. Rich guys mainly pay taxes and reinvest the money in other enterprises. I challenge pro to explain why it would not be a benefit to have the taxes and investment, compared having them overseas.

Hah! Con caught my calculation error. I apologize. I erroneously annualized the data twice. It is 1,000,000 jobs a year. There are not a million jobs working in ANWR. The jobs derive from having a trillion dollars rattling around in the US economy rather than in some other countries' economies. That is about what Obama claims for the trillion dollar stimulus package he has proposed. I should have recognized that 100,000 jobs was too low.

3. The reference Con provided says that the overwhelming sentiment among both Indians and non-Indians in Alaska favors development. All Alaskans benefit from the taxes collected, and Indians receive special benefits. If one particular tribe deserves more, than fine, give them more. the amount is trivial compared to the $1 trillion at stake. there is no chance whatsoever they will starve. Most likely there will be no impact at all, but at worst it would be a lifestyle change that reduces the amount of caribou dependence. Since caribou populations fluctuate dramatically for natural causes, that has happened before.

4. (1-3) I challenged Con to calculate the impact upon caribou population. He did not do so. He provided a source that said populations declined by 2/3 within 2 km of a traveled road. However, in the ANWR development very few roads are traveled in the summer when the herds might be in some areas. All of the hauling and drilling must be done when the ground is frozen solid, because the soft ground will not support the loads. Caribou are not bothered by unused roads. There is likely to be some minor area of traveled roads in summer for maintenance operations. I allowed that the affected area might be 15 times the actual occupied area. If so, it would potentially affect 1% of the herds. If as Con claims, the effect is to reduce the population there by 2/3, then the affect on the herd would be 2/3%. But what happens to the caribou who do not go near the roads? Do they refuse to breed? That's not likely. 99.3% of the vast area is still available. If it were the last caribou space on Manhattan they would be doomed, but that is not the case. Most likely there would be no effect at all. I again challenge con to quantify his claims with a calculation.

The picture of caribou cohabiting with Prudhoe Bay development is at http://www.boortz.com...

4.4 Con claims that a spill in the oil field would "decimate the herd. I challenge pro to describe a scenario by which 1% of the herd's range area would be damaged by an oil spill. Spills will certainly occur, but there is no scenario by which the herd would be significantly affected.

4.5 Con doesn't consider an increased risk of spills in the Persian Gulf to compare with the risk in Alaska. Why? Isn't the concern with the environment in general? Oil comes from many places other than the Persian Gulf by tanker, notably South America, Africa, and Russia. Why doesn't it all count as a risk? The key point is that as long as oil is shipped by tanker from somewhere, which it will be during the life of ANWR, the overall risk will not change substantially.

Con has repeatedly claimed that there would be significant permanent destruction to ANWR. Con has not produced evidence to support that claim, nor even made an argument that such is plausible.. Even the terrible Exxon Valdez accident has apparently not produced permanent damage. Pro should have quantified the claimed damage.

Con has failed to respond to my challenge to show that caribou population were devastated, or affected at all, by drilling operations in Prudhoe Bay, which were far more extensive. He says that ANWR is "more sensitive" but if the effect was negligible at Prudhoe and the ANWR area is smaller and done with less intrusive technology, it would have to be many hundreds of times more sensitive to be significant. He has not shown that.

Con has presented no scenario whereby oil imports will not be required during the life of ANWR. Efforts at conservation and development of alternatives will not come close to providing energy independence. The choice is whether we buy carbon from foreign powers or use our own. In fact, the vast sums from from the taxes, half of the gross profit, can be used to support alternative energy research. That could not happen if the oil were bought overseas.

Are a million jobs a year, $1 trillion saved in foreign trade, and increased national security worth the very low risk to 1% of the caribou population and the lifestyle of one Indian tribe? I claim that reason should prevail.
HempforVictory

Con

1. Pro ignored my argument regarding Middle East dependency and does not seem to understand my reasoning that as long as we remain dependent on oil, we will be dependent on the Middle East. 2.2 million bbl/d is the current rate of imports from the middle east, 18.9 bbl/d is the total amount exported by the middle east. What my link showed was that the rate of increase of oil production in the rest of the world just matches the middle east, suggesting that middle eastern oil will comprise a larger portion of the world's total production in the future.

Expected oil production is not 1.9 million barrels, it's an expected peak production rate of 1 to 1.35 million barrels. And I can't stress enough that a peak is not a sustainable production rate, but a maximum.

2. (a) If our trade deficit with China remains unchanged throughout the life of the ANWR project (30 years, probably more), our debt with them will have grown by more than $6 trillion. Time matters very much in this case, money made in 30 years is not equivalent to money made in 1, and its very misleading to act as though it were.

It is not "well established to be at least 10 million barrels," from the EIA's website I posted in round 1, there is at least 5.7 billion barrels, and the expected amount is 10.3. How is $115 "extremely conservative" if the current price is less than half that? How could you possibly justify $200? Pro seems to be choosing numbers that help his case rather than choosing numbers that are logically justified. My opponent challenges the assumption that most people would not travel to Alaska for a job at an oil field, but I think it is more valid than my opponent cares to admit because few people are willing to live in the coldest part of the coldest state in the country (and those who are are probably already living there). Pro also puts too much weight on the benefit of retaining money in the country because as I explained, there is no guarantee that the investments made with ANWR revenue will be domestic.

(b) Of course, there will be some benefit to the economy by opening up drilling for oil, but it will primarily be recognized by a small group of people and the benefit to the average American will be minimal.

"The jobs derive from having a trillion dollars rattling around in the US economy rather than in some other countries' economies."
This is nonsense, my opponent can provide no source backing up this claim. In order for there to be new jobs there has to first be some kind of investment in infrastructure to support those jobs. Not all investments lead to job creation, and not all investments will be domestic anyway. Regardless, it's at most $36.5 billion/year not $100 billion/year, because the oil will not be extracted in 10 years as pro has suggested.

3. The reference I provided says that the Inuit support drilling because they receive royalties from the land but rely on whaling for their food, whereas the Grich'in of the Northwest territories and interior Alaska are vehemently opposed to drilling in ANWR because they depend on the Caribou for food. It's not a matter of money for them, drilling in ANWR threatens their culture and lifestyle.

4. I did not calculate the impact upon caribou because such a calculation would be dubious at best. Pro has not posted any credible references to support the assumptions for his calculations and ignores the claims posted from my reference. Specifically, he ignores the fact that "Caribou avoid developed areas even when there was little traffic," when he says "Caribous are not bothered by unused roads." My opponent thinks that the developed area will be so small that the Caribou won't even notice, when the fact is that they are sensitive creatures that will abandon prime calving areas for less suitable conditions if oil development is allowed in the proposed region. The result will be increased mortality of infant Caribou, and I have already cited the research to prove this is true.

The Caribou in the picture are not calving, so it is irrelevant.

4.5 My point was that the overall risk will not change substantially, and that diverting the risk from the Persian Gulf to Alaska does not count as a benefit. You were supposed to arguing that the risk would actually decrease if ANWR were opened to drilling, that was your initial assertion.

The permanent damage to the environment is from the drilling and presence of the oil well. It is true that any oil spilled will eventually degrade, but the land will forever be scarred with the presence of a massive oil rig.

I have already explained that the Prudhoe Bay drilling is entirely different than the proposed ANWR site because that region is a prime calving area for the Caribou, making ANWR much more sensitive than Prudhoe Bay.

Pro has presented no scenario whereby oil imports from the Middle East will not be required, so his argument that ANWR will make us more secure is moot. There will be some benefit to the American economy and government if drilling is allowed, but the extent of this benefit does not warrant the potential calamity of the Caribou and Indians that depend on them. We are not as desperate as Pro seems to think, our national security will be better served by saving our petroleum resources in case we become desperate in the future.

Thank you for the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by jason_hendirx 7 years ago
jason_hendirx
But the thing is, if all those stocks and mortgages go bad, there'll be a contraction. The only way to keep prices constant is to "inflate".
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Inflating the money supply is equivalent to universal tax. The value of everyone's money is decreased in order to compensate for government spending. The effect on the economy is that the amount of capital available for constructive investment is decreased. When the Spanish discovered gold in the New World in the 1500s, they though they had more money. The result, however, was prolonged disastrous inflation caused by diluting their capital.

Timber is renewable. It grows back. The population of trees is determined by what the environment will support. It's the same with caribou, if there was any temporary damage to the herd size, it would recover.
Posted by jason_hendirx 7 years ago
jason_hendirx
I'm kind of conflicted. I don't think drilling the ANWR would actually hurt it substantially. It's not like we're logging it.
Posted by jason_hendirx 7 years ago
jason_hendirx
And this will sound HORRIBLE, but creating extra money might be the only way to keep the money supply at its current level. Drilling that oil and moving it through the economy won't stabilize the money supply.
Posted by jason_hendirx 7 years ago
jason_hendirx
I was assuming the government would create the money using the Federal Reserve instead of borrowing it, meaning that it won't have to pay it back. That kind of is its prerogative, anyway.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
jason, You are right about monetary policy. Thhey raised interest rates in the Depression, a disaster. Stimulus by government spending helps in the short term, but the money has to be paid back, which hurts a lot in the long term. It ends up taking capital out of productive investments and putting into less productive ones.

Hemp, 35,000 jobs per billion, so 35,000,000 per trillion. That would be 3.5 million per year if the trillion were over ten years. ANWR income is money that would otherwise go oversees which is instead retained within the United States. All of the money ends up either going to taxes, salaries, or being invested in something. No one collects the money and then burns it. It's true that if money is invested in an asset, like buying a piece of land, that transaction would not generate any jobs. However, whoever receives the money is going to turn around and invest it in something. I was claiming a million jobs per year, which is probably too low if Obama's 3.5 million is correct. My estimate was considering only the direct effect; it takes about $100K to capitalize a job. I didn't take into account the velocity of money; whoever gets it spends it, which provides a multiplier.

An advantage of getting the money from ANWR is that it doesn't have to be paid back. the government stimulus is trading a short term gain for a long term debt. Capital is going to have to be taken out of the economy to repay the trillion, with interest. Taking the capital out will destroy jobs just as putting money in created them. So ANWR is much, much better. Moreover, ANWR money will be spent on investments that are productive, which is to say will produce further jobs. Roads are productive, but a lot of government spending is not.

Incidentally, I would like to find a map of what might be the development pattern for ANWR. Then I can compute the land area that is within 2Km of any development. If you or anyone knows of such a thing, please tell me.
Posted by jason_hendirx 7 years ago
jason_hendirx
The Depression was nothing more than a prolonged monetary contraction. It didn't happen because our factories exploded or our office buildings collapsed, it was a monetary (read: bureaucratic) problem. The years during the New Deal in which the economy didn't grow were the years in which it was reigned in. Contraction is every bit as much of a problem as expansion. There is no magical size to the money supply that we have to achieve. The best thing to do is keep it constant relative to the amount of productivity. A large stimulus package may in fact be necessary to do that.

The correct response to inflation is not contraction. Never was, never will be. Even if a stimulus package doesn't create that many jobs directly, and it will if graft is minimal, it will stabilize the money supply, which will get the wheels of the economy going again.
Posted by HempforVictory 7 years ago
HempforVictory
"Obama's stimulus plan is supposed to create millions of jobs. Someone should tell him it absolutely doesn't work that way. $1 trillion only gets a few."

"As NPR has pointed out, "Every $1 billion the federal government commits to roads, bridges and other infrastructure helps to support some 35,000 jobs.""http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

Do you think that a billion dollars made by Exxon is equivalent to 1 billion dollars invested in roads, bridges, and other infrastructure? Do you think that all the oil revenue will be invested in infrastructure development of some sort? If the profiteers of ANWR invest their money in other oil projects around the world (good possibility), job creation won't span much past the workers needed in ANWR. Maybe some of the equipment used in the development will be American made, but probably not all of it.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
This is more like debating religious fundamentalists than debating religious fundamentalists. They get less upset.

Obama's stimulus plan is supposed to create millions of jobs. Someone should tell him it absolutely doesn't work that way. $1 trillion only gets a few.
Posted by jason_hendirx 7 years ago
jason_hendirx
*yourself

:)
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