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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Senator Coleman's ANWR Conundrum

The Democrat's penchant for the filibuster has changed the meaning of a "cloture vote". To vote for "cloture" is nothing more than a vote to end floor debate. It is a vote to let democracy happen and give each senator a chance to cast a vote for or against the issue at hand. Sadly, when Democrats suspect that the vote will be decided against their favor, they would prefer to halt the Senate's democratic process.

Consequently, to vote "for" cloture has become perceived as a vote "for" the bill under debate. It is this perception that bothers Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN).

Senator Coleman made a campaign promise to vote against drilling in ANWR. This week he voted for cloture on an amendment that would have allowed drilling in a tiny portion (2,000 acres) of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (19,000,000 acres).

The Senator's campaign is warning supporters that Democrats are wrongfully trying to paint the Senator as a supporter of ANWR because he supported cloture.

To Senator Coleman's credit, he is trying to keep a campaign promise. To his discredit, he is trying to keep a promise that results in harming our national interest – a promise that was made under the false pretense that it will help the environment.

Below is an email that was sent to Senator Coleman's campaign:

This is a HUGE disappointment! I fail to see any logical reason to vote against ANWR. It would appear that Senator Coleman made an ill-advised promise to cater to leftist, alleged "environmentalists" -- a promise that should NOT be kept!

Drilling in ANWR will NOT harm the local habitat.

Drilling in ANWR will NOT impose a risk to the reserve.

Drilling in ANWR will REDUCE environmental risks that now exist from shipping Mid-East oil overseas.

Let me restate that last item. Drilling in ANWR will do more to HELP the environment than harm it!

ANWR is roughly half the size of Minnesota. The region upon which drilling is proposed is about the size of White Bear Lake. Further, it is located on frozen tundra -- not the picturesque postcard land that "environmentalists" portray.

There is no way that drilling on a region so small will harm ANWR or impose an undue risk. Moreover, for environmental reasons, drilling in the Middle-East and shipping that oil overseas imposes far greater risks that ANWR would. The risk of accidental spillage is far greater from a tanker than a land-based (or tundra-based) oil rig.

Much has been alleged about the "miniscule" amount of oil that could be available. But, truth is, we don't know how much is there. Moreover, such estimates are often low. If oil companies are willing to take the risk to make the investment to retrieve what is available, then it benefits the nation to let them do so.

Additionally, provisions can be made in the bill (if not already there) to require removal of drilling apparatus should the drills run dry.

Finally, no matter how much oil we ultimately retrieve, the move to get this oil from our own backyard would put us in a far better position to bargain with OPAC simply by giving OPAC the taste of some competition.

"Environmental" groups such as the Sierra Club are not being honest with their reasons to oppose ANWR drilling. One can only presume that their motives have far less to do with environmental protection.

It would not only be in the best interest of the United States to retrieve the oil in its own backyard, it would also be in the best interest for the environment. We use far more advanced, more environmentally friendly means to drill for oil than OPAC nations, and we reduce the risk of overseas shipping.

This is not a proud moment for the Senator, nor for his Republican supporters.

As an activist, I intend to further the debate over this issue and bring more focus to the facts of drilling in ANWR -- and the myths that drive opposition. The Senator has the opportunity to do the same. By supporting drilling in ANWR, Senator Coleman has the opportunity to make the case that this is in the best interests of his constituents -- including those who profess exclusive concern over the environment.

I intend to vote for Senator Colemen, but will not contribute to his campaign if he continues to oppose drilling in ANWR.

Supporters of harvesting oil in ANWR who live in Minnesota are encouraged to let Senator Coleman and Representative Mark Kennedy (who made a similar promise to oppose drilling) know of their concerns.

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