The news outlets are all reporting the closure of the Alaskan pipeline
. Oil markets are responding with higher oil prices. Apparently, the Alaskan slope provides 8% of U.S. domestic production, quite a chunk.
This news story got me thinking. Suppose we never had drilled in Alaska? Bush conservatives would say that our oil situation would be much worse today than it is, and thank god we did drill there, and "hey, how about that ANWR?". And I would expect just such an assessment from such a conservative, those not used to thinking outside the box.
I suspect something quite different. Had environmentalists won and Alaska been left alone, I suspect that oil prices would have ramped up, driving technological development. The United States is not prone to proactive planning, but we are quite good at reacting. Thus, as gas prices remain above $3.00/gal, you're seeing a greater interest toward public transportation and fuel efficient vehicles. If only the trend had started 30 years ago instead of now when the earth is covered in a blanket of co2.
So my take on the Alaska pipeline (corrosion is causing the temporary closure), corrode away for all I care. Anything that cause energy to be more expensive is in our long run best interest.