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'Social Assets vs. Energy Future'

September 17, 1987

Krauthammer's comments on the need for additional Alaskan North Slope oil in the decades to come was right on the mark.

As someone who was involved in the Washington controversy over the building of the Trans Alaskan Pipeline more than a decade ago, I too have a feeling of deja vu when reading accounts of the current opposition.

The doomsday predictions of the opponents that the North Slope environment, and particularly the wildlife, would be ravaged by oil development have not materialized.

What has materialized has been a major source of domestic crude oil which has given the U.S. leverage when dealing with foreign oil producers, including the members of OPEC. Some estimates in Washington today indicate that a major discovery on the Coastal Plain of ANWR would be able to keep the world price of oil down by about $9 a barrel in the late 1990s, and that's in 1984 dollars!

Finally, most Californians don't realize that a high percentage of the gasoline they use is produced from Alaskan oil today. Additional oil discoveries on the Coastal Plain would go a long way toward assuring the West Coast of oil supplies into the next century, when current North Slope fields are in normal decline.

Helping to keep world prices down and domestic supplies up at the turn of the century seems like a responsible action for the Congress to take.



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