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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Thune, Bush are Right on ANWR

Are you tired of paying through the nose for gas? Are you tired of your hard-earned dollars ending up in some Middle East country that would just as soon see the United States erased as take our money? Are you tired of environmental extremists who can't even stand the thought of responsible domestic energy production? I know I am.

That's why I welcomed the article in the Argus Leader today which stated Senator John Thune supports President Bush's renewed call for drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

The wildlife refuge has enough oil to provide 1 million barrels a day, Thune said. Even though that is only 5 percent of the 20 million barrels of oil that Americans now use daily, it would help ease prices at the pump, he said. Now that gas prices are so high, lawmakers who voted against opening ANWR to drilling in the past may be open to the idea today, he said. Congress has voted on ANWR legislation five times in the past 10 years but Democrats always stopped it, he said.

While Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth has supported drilling in ANWR, Senator Tim Johnson has opposed it.

About three years ago, I interviewed Mark Mosbrucker, a local man who works on the oil rigs in Alaska most of the year. The area in which he works is not far from ANWR. He said there is very little wildlife in the area to begin with, and most of what animals there are in the area are mostly migratory. Rather than the drilling platforms causing trouble for the wildlife, he said the animals usually come near for shelter and warmth.

Mosbrucker told me the drilling platforms are actually a few feet off the ground, so they leave even less of an impression on the land than one might think.

He told me that in addition to most Alaskans being very eager to see ANWR opened up for drilling, that ANWR would mean more job opportunities for South Dakotans like him who spend a lot of time making good money up there.

Opening up ANWR for drilling, while significant, is only a first step in a much-needed initiative to make greater use of domestic oil resources.

It's time the American people took back our country's natural resources from environmental extremists.


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