“If drilling [in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] were approved today, it would be ten years before oil arrived in refineries.” — Sierra Magazine, January-February issue, 2002.
“Oil extracted from the Wildlife Refuge would not reach refineries for seven to ten years and would never satisfy more than two percent of our nation’s oil demands at any one time.” — Senator Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.), April 17, 2002.
“It would take years and years of development” to generate any supply. — Vice President Al Gore, September 30, 2000. He preferred releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve instead.
The Bush plan to drill in ANWR offers “no real action to bring oil prices down now, no real prospect of freeing ourselves from dependence on big oil and foreign oil.” — Al Gore, Sept. 30, 2000.
UPDATE: A little more recently . . . “We could start drilling in ANWR today, and at its peak, which would be more than a decade from now, it would give us enough oil to take care of our transportation needs for about a month.” — Senator Barack Obama, February 28, 2006.
Of course, this country uses an enormous amount of oil in a month, so that adds up to 600 million barrels. And it will not surprise you that Obama’s estimate is on the low side; a U.S. Geological Survey study put the amount at “5.7 billion to 16 billion barrels of oil” — so about 10 to 26 months of oil. And in Obama’s strange future vision, America would simply not use any other source of oil from anywhere in the United States, Canada, offshore, or abroad. Of course, the presence of the ANWR supply, along with all of the other potential supplies — shale, fracking, and offshore drilling on the Gulf border with Mexico! — would A) ensure more supply, B) bring down the cost, and C) bring down transportation costs, as opposed to having it brought across oceans by tankers from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria, etc.