Bush to Allow More Drilling on Alaska's North Slope

When news of BP’s massive oil spill on Alaska’s North Slope and its more recent pipeline shutdown in Prudhoe Bay broke, one could foresee a majority of the responses from concerned parties. Environmentalists were outraged; BP went into defense mode; and oil prices reacted accordingly. More importantly, we knew these events would present President Bush with an opportunity to make yet another regrettable decision. Yesterday, the Administration announced that on September 27 it would sell oil and gas leases for portions of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. This will open the entire Teshekpuk Lake area, an irreplaceable wildlife habitat, to drilling and oil infrastructure. According to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the oil industry has been responsible for 504 spills annually on the North Slope since 1996. For those who don’t have a calculator handy, that’s 1.38 spills per day. Why address the nation’s ‘addiction’ to oil when you could aim for 2 spills a day?