Politics & Government

Campaign Watchdog: Claim that Chandler opposes Alaskan drilling mostly true

The Herald-Leader will routinely check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their surrogates leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

The statement: "Despite rising gas prices, Chandler voted against expanding drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge."

— Online ad by FreedomWorks for America attacking U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles

The ruling: Mostly true

The facts: Chandler, who faces Republican challenger Andy Barr in Tuesday's election, opposes oil drilling in the 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska, a protected habitat for polar bears, caribou and seabirds.

Congress has debated drilling in ANWR for several decades, most recently in a pro-drilling House bill in February that Chandler voted against. The House approved that bill but has not sent it to the Senate for further action.

Despite the ad's implication, drilling in ANWR would make little difference in gasoline prices, according to a May 2008 analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

If Congress were to approve drilling, ANWR's oil would lower the world price of oil by an estimated range of 41 cents to $1.44 per barrel at its peak impact 20 years later, the EIA estimated. For context, crude oil reached a monthly average price of $105.32 per barrel earlier this year.

Peak oil production from ANWR likely would reach about 780,000 barrels per day before starting to decline, the EIA said. That peak total would represent between 0.4 percent and 1.2 percent of global oil consumption at the time, the EIA said.

"Consequently, ANWR oil production is not projected to have a large impact on world oil prices," the EIA said.

Campaign Watchdog finds FreedomWorks' ad to be mostly true. Chandler opposes oil drilling in ANWR, but that stance isn't projected to have much impact on the price of gasoline.

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