Oil Drilling in ANWAR

by Rhiannon Carlson and Elaine Durr  (March 2003)

1ST negative


SH1- Dependency on Foreign Oil

Why is this harmful?

-According to basic economic principles, it is better to buy products from countries that can produce them better and cheaper, so that we can concentrate our resources on products that we can produce better and cheaper.


-Iraq is only one country in OPEC; if they stop selling to us other countries will still sell to us because it is in their best interest to.


SH2-Increased Cost in Oil

Not a significant increase

-According to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Simmons and Company International, a specialized energy investment bank, $35 oil in 2003 dollars when adjusted for inflation would be about $15.25 in 1974 dollars. Yes the price has increased but prices of almost all products have increased due to inflation.


-According to Lovins and Lovins who are consultants to major oil companies and advisors to the Department of Defense on Energy Security California does not have a shortage of oil, in fact, only 1% of its electricity comes from oil


GG3-Lack of Jobs in the US

Data is outdated

-According to a March 21, 2003 article from the Associated Press Alaska’s unemployment rose one tenth of a % from January to 8.7% and the national rate rose to 7%, therefore only a 1.7% difference not the 2.2% difference that the affirmative team stated.

-In addition, Labor Department officials say the rate of 8.7% is normal for Alaska’s traditional peak jobless time (Jan & Feb) before seasonal employment begins to pick up in March.


GF4-US Debt


-This point is not on topic and is not directly linked to oil production or lack there of. The fact that we have a US debt has nothing to do will oil drilling in the refuge. Our debt comes from expenditures and what programs the government chooses to fund.  


-The US debt is significant, but according to the NRDC in 2000 the US spent $106  billion dollars on importing crude oil and other petroleum products.  This is $106 billion dollars that could be “saved” by no longer importing is not significant when considering a 6.4 trillion dollar debt.


-Also according to Clusen of the NRDC, oil and gas product production on federal lands generates $835 million dollars for the federal treasury, which is also not significant when considering a 6.4 trillion dollar debt.



GE5-Balance of Trade

How is this a failure?

There has never been a stated goal of a balanced trade system.


-Trade balance is based on cost benefits analysis. The US should do what is best for them – buy from other countries that can produce better and cheaper products than the US.


Structural Inherency- Lack of oil available in the US and continued energy consumption


-There is not a lack of oil in the US where we are currently drilling. When considering Prudhoe Bay production fields, conservative projections are for another 40 years of production without even considering ANWR (NRDC).


-The affirmative team claims that oil drilling in ANWR is necessary to solve their stated problems with the status quo. We will now offer a minor repair to the status quo that addresses their problems and provides additional benefits. This minor repair is to increase energy efficiency.


-The NRDC estimates that increasing vehicle fuel economy standards to 40mpg over the next decade could save more than 50 billion barrels of oil over the next 50 years, which is 10 times more oil than the refuge could yield and could save consumers money.


-Increased energy efficiency no only produces benefits but has been proven to work.


-Fuel economy for new passenger cars nearly doubled in 1975(when standards were 1st adopted) and their peak in 1988 and Fuel economy for new light trucks increased by 50%. The rules haven’t changed since 1985; therefore, it is probable that if they were increased now that they would successfully produce similar benefits.



W1- The drilling area only addresses “surface acreage covered by production and support facilities.” It does not cover seismic or other exploration activities that would have significant biological impacts on the sensitive artic tundra and wildlife that rely on the security of those areas to survive.


2nd Negative


Solvency Arguments


SH1-The affirmatives figure of 16 billion barrels does not include the cost of discovery, development, and production.


-If you include these costs and consider economically recoverable oil, According to a 1998 USGS study, assuming a price of $24 dollars per barrel, there is a 95% chance of finding 1.9 billion barrels, a 5% chance of finding 9.4 billion barrels, and a 50% chance of finding 5.3 billion barrels.


-So there is a 50% chance of finding less than a years worth of oil considering the US used 7 billion barrels per year.


SH2- Increased oil supply in the US will have no effect on the cost of oil because oil prices are set on a world market and other nations have vastly larger reserves and lower production costs (NRDC).


-The amount of economically recoverable oil in the refuge would increase world reserves by only .3%, which is not enough to cut our oil imports or influence world prices.


-According to the Congressional Research Service, any global market change that may occur due to the refuge oil would be either “exceedingly small or uncertain.”


GG3- Congressional Research Service an unbiased source on the subject of oil drilling in October in 2002 predicted that oil drilling in the refuge would generate 60,000 to 130,000 jobs not the 450,000 to 735,000 jobs that the affirmative team stated.


-Also according to the NRDC the majority of jobs created by oil drilling would be short-term and only last for five years.


-Since the number of jobs is not as great as the affirmative team stated and those that would occur would be temporary- it would not greatly help Alaska’s unemployment rate, which as stated by my partner is only a season rate which decreases after the winter months of January and February.


GF4- The increase in federal revenue state to occur by the affirmative team is not guaranteed to stay within the federal treasury. According to Clusen of the NRDC in his testimony in front of the Senate Committee on energy and natural resources, the portion of revenue currently generated from oil and gas production on federal lands is mostly returned to the states. The federal government has to reimburse the stats for the cost of managing the oil and gas development. Therefore the increase in federal treasury would not be as great as stated by the affirmative team.


-The affirmative teams’ statement of increased state revenue from an increase in population from oil workers is completely invalid. As stated previously the increase in jobs will not be as great as the affirmative team stated and the jobs that do occur will be temporary, therefore any increase in the states revenue will be temporary as well.


- The fact that the state revenue utilizing petroleum rose after drilling in Prudhoe Bay does not prove that state revenue will increase if drilling occurs in ANWR. The amount of economically recoverable oil from ANWR ranges from 1.9 to 9.4 billion barrels at $24 dollars per barrel which gives no grantee to the amount of oil or increase to state revenue.


GF5- AS stated earlier, there is a 50% chance of finding less than a years worth of oil in ANWR, therefore imports would not be decreased significantly.




D1-As reported by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the caribou population did increase after oil field development began in the Prudhoe Bay area, but the population has declined since. The article states that there are fundamental differences between the calving areas of the caribou in the Prudhoe Bay region and the porcupine herd in ANWR. IN Prudhoe, there is a greater amount of alternative calving areas available, while ANWR is smaller and lacks alternative areas. Because ANWR is smaller than the Prudhoe Bay area and is utilized by 6 times as many caribou it is expected that caribou populations will decrease in ANWR if drilling commences.


D2- According to the NRDC, oil development- no matter how carefully it is done- would harm large portions of the refuge. The exploration and production would not be confined to a limited area and would range across as many as 35 separate fields, which would affect wildlife habitats on hundreds of thousands of acres inter-spread between sprawling oil fields and pipelines. IN addition habitats would also be disrupted by industrial activity associated with airports, permanent production, and gravel roads to connect the facilities.


D3-1/4th of the permanent jobs in Alaska rely on the wildlife that will be harmed and/or destroyed bye the drilling.


D4- Oil drilling has cause extensive damage to the ecosystem in the past.