Thursday, June 19, 2008

Drilling in the ANWR

What with gas prices being high, the issue of drilling in ANWR has come back to prominence, particularly because McCain's lack of support for the idea has angered many Republicans. In particular, The Corner has been harping on this for a few days. There's one thing about the discussion that's particularly bizarre, and while I've been proscrastinating on posting about this, Ana Marie Cox noticed too:
One of the helpful myths that keeps that idea alive irks me to distraction: The idea that it's okay to drill in ANWR because it isn't pretty. (Jonah Goldberg is a real leader in this field, having mined this particular "mosquito-plagued tundra" since 2001.)

Bush was a big part of this too, arguing that ANWR is a "great white nothing." But the more recent discussion gets even weirder. The Cornerites have been falling overthemselves in contrasting ANWR and the Grand Canyon. This initially came up because McCain said he opposed drilling in ANWR for the same reasons he would oppose drilling in the Grand Canyon: because they should both be kept pristine. Fine, good answer. But then the Cornerites threw up a million posts discussing how many visitors ANWR gets compared with the Grand Canyon, etc. Are they stupid, or just disingenuous? Whether ANWR is a nice tourist attraction is not only not the point, the whole idea is that ANWR should be as free as possible from human intrusion and development.

The other thing that gets me is that even most supporters of drilling in ANWR now acknowledge that such a drilling scheme would only go a very small way towards shoring up America's oil supply, but they still think it should be done. Why? My guess is that they now see the whole ANWR controvery as a right-versus-left issue and that they simply want to win the argument.

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