Also while we're worried about Iraq, the Senate is set to vote next week and it looks like Arctic Drilling Hinges On One Vote. The battle over drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is very close and, "'Dick Cheney has been working madly to secure the 50th (vote),' said the e-mail sent to GOP offices." I am opposed to the drilling for several reasons, primarily because the refuge won't yield significant amounts of oil (surveys estimate it's worth pumping out 6 billion barrels, or enough to supply all US oil needs for about 11 months), it won't yield any oil for three to four years (doing nothing to address the current oil crises and gas prices), and it sets a dangerous precedent of exploring land that we've put aside to protect. Why not put the funds towards alternative energy research?
When I was in Anchorage last year, we discussed ANWR over lunch. The locals were in support of it, perhaps because oil revenues give Alaskans an annual refund (~$2,000 each in 2000) and allow the state to forgo a sales tax to generate revenue. The locals assured me that the area around ANWR isn't anything like it's been presented. It's a cold, barren tundra that no camper or tourist will ever visit. Of course, one also told me that the animals actually like the Alaska Pipeline because it radiates heat, so they all snuggle up against it for warmth. I remain unconvinced.