Commentary: Arctic drilling has vital role in energy, national security

They’re calling it “mega,” “massive,” “major.” A new oil discovery in shallow waters off Alaska’s North Slope could contain 6 billion barrels of crude oil – singlehandedly increasing Alaska’s oil reserves by 80 percent and potentially producing 200,000 barrels per day.

The lesson is simple: When you’re allowed to explore for energy, historic oil and natural gas discoveries can follow. But there’s a caveat. Given the long lead time for development – which, in this case, requires construction of a new pipeline segment — it could be some years before we reap the benefits.

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