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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

The opinions you read below are those of the individual writers, not necessarily views that will become formal positions of The Seattle Times. Respond to STop
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Currently, STop cannot automatically post readers' comments on the blog. However, the editorial staff will regularly post readers' comments. Your comments are sent directly to the individual editor or writer.

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Jim Vesely
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Jim Vesely
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Lee Moriwaki
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Lee Moriwaki
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Joni Balter
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Joni Balter
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Eric Devericks
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Eric Devericks
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Lance Dickie
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Lance Dickie
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Bruce Ramsey
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Bruce Ramsey
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Kate Riley
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Kate Riley
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Lynne Varner
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Lynne Varner
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Ryan Blethen
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Ryan Blethen
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March 23, 2005

ANWR and Fungible Oil

A reader responds to my column advocating drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge:

Possibly I missed something, but what ensures that the oil will flow to US consumers? And in any event, since oil is a fungible commodity, won’t this simply be more supply for the market, and its source irrelevant to the market? It will be no different than if an additional filed is opened in Iraq, Russia, or anywhere.... save perhaps for its relative stability. But the oil won’t rebound to US consumers any more than it would to European, Japanese, anyone, though it is our Wilderness Refuge that it costs...

I wrote back:

I didn't take on the international dimension. Well, one can only say so much in 750 words, and I was trying to rebut my old colleague Joel Connelly. Oil is fungible. [i.e., it is interchangable with other oil, and goes into One Big Market.] The producer benefit would go to Alaskans and employees and stockholders of BP or Alyeska, or whomever, and maybe a bit to all Americans through a stronger dollar. The consumer benefit (in peacetime) would be spread worldwide. Certainly American consumers have benefited from oil production in Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Canada, Mexico, etc. Maybe we owe Nigeria and Mexico--or Bangladesh and the Philippines--not to sit on this oil. If gasoline goes to $5 a gallon, or $10, it's the poor countries who will suffer most. Yes, it is our Wildlife Refuge. You have to ask how much it really costs that refuge--as a habitat for animals and as a trophy place for humans. Does a 21st century extraction effort wreck it? I don't think so.

Respond to Bruce.

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at March 23, 2005 02:08 PM



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