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And here's the bottom line: before you stands at least one person [me], who would gladly pay more for gas than see a region like the ANWR trashed for the sake of oil.

I'm a little different. I would prefer it stay in the ground because it is probably the last great reserve on American territory, and everybody should have an emergency stash someplace. Great noise is made on these boards about having "a 6 month emergency fund" in case of the unexpected.

Why should "a country" be any different? After air and water, probably the single most strategic commodity to the future health of the nation is energy, and at the moment that means oil. Maybe someday it won't be oil, but for now it is, and I hate to see us dangling at the end of someone else's noose.

The tiniest bit of history shows what can happen when a nation's energy supply is blocked: We cut off oil imports to Japan in 1941, they decided their only option was to enlarge their sphere of influence to the entire Pacific, including the oil fields in the Dutch East Indies. Hitler lost the Russian campaign because he split his forces and sent half of them to get Russia's southern oil fields. He had to do that, since he didn't have, enough domestic oil to run the campaign any other way. And I'm pretty sure George Bush I didn't go into Iraq the first time just because he wanted to restore the monarchy in Kuwait.

Now it's possible that this "reserve" will never be called upon, in which case it's a minor shame that we haven't dug it up (environmentalist objections noted), but then it's also possible that my personal cash reserve will never be called upon, and it's a minor shame that I didn't use it to buy myself a Lamborghini. But that's the way it goes.

In the meantime I'm not sure I see the point of bringing some finite amount of domestic oil online merely so we can lower the price on the world market for a few years, allowing China and India to reap the benefits of "cheap oil"; I would rather have higher prices and hope we use other people's cheap oil, while the price signals to the market start developing alternate energy sources to wean us off the drug which is provided to us by instable and hostile regimes around the globe.

And in the meantime, keep our "emergency stash" under the pillow, for use - you know, in an emergency.
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