In an op-ed supporting drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that ran in the New York Times Monday, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton deployed one of the Bush administration's trademarks -- misleading statistics:
If approved by Congress, the overall "footprint" of the equipment and facilities needed to develop the 1002 area [ANWR] would be restricted to 2,000 acres, an area about the size of a regional airport in a refuge the size of South Carolina.
[T]he Vice President failed to note that the 2,000-acre figure he cited had been calculated by counting only the amount of space that would be taken up by equipment touching the ground, not the total land area that would be affected by oil exploration and transport. For example, the space "affected" by an aboveground pipeline was measured according to the size of each of the stanchions that hold it up. While ANWR drilling platforms and material might only touch the ground over a total of 2,000 acres, the "amount of land affected" would likely be significantly greater.
The Cheney speech in question was made on April 30, 2001. Here we are almost four years later and Norton is still repeating the same spin. How dumb do they think we are?