‘Our Fake Drilling Debate’

By December 15, 2005General

Here’s a link to an excellent article by that title by George Will in today’s Washington Post. Great quote:

For some people, environmentalism is collectivism in drag. Such people use environmental causes and rhetoric not to change the political climate for the purpose of environmental improvement. Rather, for them, changing the society’s politics is the end, and environmental policies are mere means to that end.”

Amen to that. Great job by George Will, making the case for opening ANWR. Please write a note to your Member of Congress and tell them it’s time.

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Hal Herring says:

    Dear Mr. Cleary,
    I’m very much enjoying this blog and the exchanges found here. America is business, and I find it refreshing that so many of your readers, who are obviously in manufacturing, recognize that business and environment go together. I believe we have seen an abdication of responsibility for the environment on the federal level, and it is a relief to me that American business people are thinking about how to fill that vacuum.
    BUT: Please let me clarify something that I see repeated over and over here concerning the size of the energy developments in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    Your quote ” if we excise a place a fifth the size of Dulles Airport to get a million barrels of oil a day?”

    I’m not sure that you realize it, but this quote is extraordinarily misleading and it has been used over and over here in the Western US to try and deflect criticism of large scale coal bed methane developments on public lands.

    The actual acreage covered by roads and well pads proposed in ANWR may comprise exactly the number of acres you describe. However: development advocates fail to tell us that the development is actually spread out over a huge area. in the (remembered,may not be exact) words of one former Wyo. BLM staffer– “think of the roads as a giant spiderweb. If you crush the spiderweb in your hand, roll it into a ball, the are covered is very small. But in reality, the web, the development, affects and controls a huge area.”

    I do not object to a good sound argument about the benefits and losses of drilling in the ANWR. But to use this metaphor about small scale over and over is to deliberately paint a false picture of the development, and that can only hurt the quality of the debate.

    Hal Herring

  • Pat Cleary says:


    We make the economy go. I don’t, but our mbrs do, every day. As for “roads and highways, power generation and distribution, sewers, defense”, who do you think makes it all? We do. Try to have an economy without us.

    Thanks for writing.

  • carl fischer says:

    “We actually make the economy go” Careful, don’t throw your arm out patting yourself on the back. It seems to me that Americas’ economic might comes, not only, from capitalist investment but also from an infrastructure built on a collectivist platform i.e. public education, roads and highways, power generation and distribution, sewers, defense etc. etc. But I digress.

    I’m opposed to drilling in ANWR because I’ve seen far too many times what happens once “development” infects a region. The classic scenario in my area is that some developer wants to build a levee (have the local municipalities and the Corp of Engineers pay for one) and then build more industrial/retail facilities. They boast about how this facility will only use a small percentage of the remaining wetland (they can’t boast about new tax revenue because there wont be any, TIFs are used as incentives by the municipalities) As soon as the “development” takes root, the flood gates are thrown open and within a few years the whole area is unrecognizable. In this way my region has lost 30% of its remaining wetlands in the last 10 years. I realize that shopping mall building and oil drilling are two different things but the number of APDs issued tripled from 1999-2004 and they are likely to at least triple again in the next 10 years. Denser in-fill development will create industrialized areas in oil and gas fields as oil well spacing continues to decrease.

    I have never vacationed in ANWR and I doubt that I’ll ever go there but it is comforting to me to know that there is at least one place left in this country that hasn’t been touched by the bulldozers blade and that serves as habitat for what wildlife remains. The fact that I can’t personally make use of the place or that it isn’t covered with oil wells or factories does not, in my mind make it useless.

  • Pat Cleary says:


    Wow. Hard to know where to start. Yes, sorry to take away that pristine wilderness for all Americans. All those folks who vacation up there in the -70 degree temperature, the families who camp in the permafrost tundra. Right. Can we agree that they can still enjoy the part of ANWR that’s the size of the state of South Carolina if we excise a place a fifth the size of Dulles Airport to get a million barrels of oil a day? Its output is equal to that of Texas’ on-shore drilling. I ‘spose you want to take that off-line, too.

    As for manufacturers, you should talk to at least one. You will find out that they are beset by soaring energy costs, while 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas sits untaped off our coast. They are beset by soaring legal costs. And on regulatory costs, sorry but you’re just flat wrong. We pay more in environmental compliance than any of our trading partners. As for other regulatory costs, we’re not that interested in paying the most of everyone. As I’m sure you know, most of Europe is struggling mightily to move in the other direction.

    In short, sorry we can’t be as fair and even-handed as the lefty Slingshot. You have your point of view, we have ours. Difference is, we actually make the economy go.

    Thanks for writing.

  • Dave Meyer says:

    Mr. Cleary,

    “In the spirit of the blogospher” does not mean “in the spirit of Redstate.org.” You are doing the manufacturers that comprise NAM a disservice through your extreme partisanship. That you are using NAM’s considerable resources and reputation to fight against something that “irks” you is a waste.

    Manufacturers in America have a considerably smaller regulatory & tax burden than those in either Japan or Western Europe, and the vast majority of our competition is still based there. Unfortunately, we also have a considerably weaker educational system, weaker infrastructure, and more corporate corruption. It’s long past time that NAM started supporting goals that helped manufacturers in the long run, rather than sacrificing sustainable growth for short term profits and Republican electoral success.

    Drilling in ANWR is a stop gap that would just delay needed investments in sustainable alternative energy sources. And it would cost Americans the enjoyment of one of the last pristine wilderness areas in the country. I feel bad that you have to deny your immediate gratification, but life is hard, and responsible leadership is a burden.

  • Pat Cleary says:

    Sure, the tone of the blog is a little barbed, but you should take it in the spirit of the blogosphere. I have made the point repeatedly that manufacturers are on the cutting edge of efficiency and conservation. And, we are the ones inventing the new technology.

    What irks me is the “just say no” policies of the environmentalists. We manufacturers try valiantly to compete, while we pay the highest natural gas prices in the world. Yet an enormous reserve sits just off the coast, but we can’t tap it. It’s just not right, and it’s hurting all manufacturers.

    Thanks for writing.

  • Carl Fischer says:

    The environment is only a topic worth discussing for carbon based life forms that require air, water and food.
    Responsible, far sighted manufacturers understand that environmentalism isn’t about some desire to manipulate social policy or some other dark agenda, rather it’s about sustainability and preserving something for future generations.

    This site, and NAM by association, strikes me as less of an organization representing concerns of the Manufacturing industry and more of an extension of the Rush Limbough, Bill O’Reilly, etc. etc “I’ve got mine the hell with you” political movement.