As the presidential campaign heats up across the country, students at Georgetown met to debate American energy policy, in White Gravenor Tuesday night.

Members of the College Republicans and College Democrats focused specifically on the Kyoto Protocol and administration plans to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Kyoto Protocol, which the United States has voted against supporting, calls for a large reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by developed countries. The Bush administration currently supports the drilling of petroleum in ANWR.

“The most problematic portions of the Kyoto agreement lie in its disproportionate impact on the United States,” David Benjamin (COL ’05), president of College Republicans, said. “No aspect of the Kyoto treaty has ever been proven by a majority of ecologists or biologists to impact the quality of the earth’s atmosphere.”

Scott Zumwalt (COL ’06), president of the College Democrats, countered Benjamin by saying that Bush’s refusal to support Kyoto is hurting America’s prestige abroad.

“Relations between the U.S. and its allies have dwindled because of the rejection of the Kyoto treaty,” he said.

Both sides agreed that the United States needs to find alternate sources of energy. Yet they disagreed on how that energy should be found and used.

Ryan Sturgill (SFS ’07), communications and publicity director for the College Democrats, said that drilling in ANWR “sets a dangerous precedent because this would only give the Bush administration an excuse to go into other protected areas.”

The Republicans argued that prospecting for oil in ANWR is vital to the continued prosperity of the United States. Kevin Murphy (COL ’07) said that utilizing ANWR is necessary to meet the needs of the United States in the future.

The Democrats ended their portion of the debate by criticizing President Bush. While agreeing that both sides wished to reduce their dependence on foreign oil, Chris Wooley (COL ’06), College Democrats events director, said that the Bush administration’s environmental policies have failed all Americans.

L.A. Holmes (COL ’07), a freshman representative for the College Republicans, had the last word and said that “an oil pipe constructed below ANWR strong enough to resist 6.0 earthquakes will do little to disturb the environment.”

Spectators disagreed on the outcome of the debate

“The Republicans came out slightly stronger and brought out more factual evidence,” Ryan Dineen (COL ’06), a member of the College Republicans, said. “Both sides argued well but the Republicans won.”

Jason Lamote, (SFS ’06) a member of the College Democrats, disagreed. “There wasn’t a clear winner,” he said. “The Democrats were more for finding other sources of oil and both did a good job.”

Chirag Dedania (SFS ’06) and Murphy Gallagher (COL ’06), the directors of communications for the Democrats and Republicans, respectively, moderated the debate and said more were planned for the near future.

Comments are closed.