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Ron Paul says "drill, baby drill" - bad idea says economists

In a recent Feature, Al Jazeera English talked to five professional economists about their views on Ron Paul’s economic policies. One of the economic points discussed was Paul’s idea to lower the price of fuel. Ron Paul believes, just like the other Republican front-runners in the 2012 election, that the price on fuel could be lowered if the US just allowed companies to drill for oil (both offshore and on land) in sensitive areas such as the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, explained that oil drilling in ANWR wouldn’t result in any noteworthy changes to fuel prices. This idea would mean “a lot of risk both to the environment and the economy for really very little gain,” Baker said.

Here’s his full quote on drilling for oil in ANWR:

"We have a world market, so how much are we talking about increasing supply? The analyses I've seen from ANWR is that peak production - and we're typically talking about ten years or so until we get there - would be about a million barrels per day (bpd), and this is in the context of a world market of around 90 million bpd. So you're talking about lowering the price of oil maybe one or two per cent if you're lucky.

"And the amount that you can get from additional offshore drilling - because it's not as if we're drilling not at all now - that's typically put at around 200,000 - 300,000 bpd, so the impact is even less. To my mind, you're talking about risking a lot of environmental damage - these are also places where people fish, and it's also a big tourism destination - you don't want to go to a beach that's covered in oil. So you're talking about a lot of risk both to the environment and the economy for really very little gain."

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