City of Roses
|"Only the flat and featureless coastal plain would be affected, and even there only a small portion of its 1.5 million acres. The current version of the bill limits the surface disturbance to 2,000 acres, a small piece of a big coastal plain in a very big wildlife refuge in the biggest state in the Union."
That's just it, that's the first counter-myth being projected by the pro-drilling crowd; that the Arctic coastal plain is "featureless".
It's not. Even 13-year old Sierra Pell of Marlboro, Vermont understands this, who researched ANWR and filed a petition against oil drilling. She wrote the following in her essay:
"Each Spring, one of the worlds biggest Caribou herds travels over 400 miles just to give birth in ANWR'S almost perfect nursery. Pregnant or nursing Caribou can be very sensitive and, at any disturbance, may leave the nursery and their calves.
Each Summer, millions of graceful Snow Geese, Sand Hill Cranes, Red Throated Loons and many other bird species come to nest in this precious place before starting their long journey south.
Each Fall, more pearly Polar Bears than anywhere else, come ashore to birth their cubs and build their dens. Pregnant and nursing Polar Bears are very sensitive and if disturbed they might leave their dens, resulting in fatal consequences for their cubs.
All throughout the year, over 350 cumbersome Musk Oxen (one of our few survivors of the ice age) roam the fragile plains that they depend on so much, the plain that gives them shelter, food and a place to be! They depend on this land!
If we let the Bush administration destroy this land that the animals depend on, our age old survivors may die! It may sound strange that they can survive the NATURAL ice age and yet not survive UNNATURAL land destruction; but it's true!
All year round, along with the Musk Oxen, Grizzlies, Wolves, Arctic Foxes, Golden Eagles, Snowy Owls and many others live off the hospitable land of ANWR. Do we really want to see such magnificent animals or their homes become destroyed?"
There's a mountain of research that shows how the Arctic coastal plain is a fertile crescent of sorts for many migrational routes of species.
"Again, the vast majority of ANWR will be completely unaffected by drilling. It would occur only on a small part of the coastal plain where there already is some human habitation. There are plenty of truly pristine places in Alaska worth preserving, but ANWR’s coastal plain isn’t one of them."
Again, as I made clear earlier, historically we have seen before how early "promises" have always been made to ensure that only a particular site would be excavated, and in time it has been shown how it never stops there, that curiosity and the insatiable thirst for more has happened, and that soon enough if ANWR is opened up to drilling, eventually the operations will be carried out beyond the coastal plain. It's plainly inevitable logic.
"It is worth noting that another wildlife refuge in Alaska, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, has had drilling onsite for decades. The oil production there rarely makes the news because it has not caused any problems, even though Kenai has far more wildlife than ANWR."
Perhaps Ben Lieberman has forgotten about the history of pipeline spills within the Kenai Refuge, particularly in the Swanson Oil Fields.
According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service studies, oil drilling in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska has resulted in more than 350 spills, explosions and fires and is linked with abnormally high numbers of deformed wood frogs.
The oil production there has barely ever made the news because of poor reporting and poor management of the pipelines, including the 1972 Compressor Plant Explosion which went virtually unreported for 14 years.
"Environmentalists have been particularly excessive in predicting dire harm to the herd of migrating caribou that passes through ANWR. But the caribou herd that migrates through Prudhoe Bay has increased from 3,000 to 23,000 since drilling commenced there in 1977."
They fail to add that the overall Central Arctic herd has been in decline since 1992.
"In fact, polls regularly show 75 percent or more of Alaskans support drilling. This includes the native Alaskans who live in the vicinity of the area where ANWR drilling would occur, although the few who oppose drilling get most of the media attention."
There's no doubt that ANWR is a polarizing national issue.
Most polls will show you a slight majority of Americans oppose ANWR drilling, and there is clear polarization on the issue across party lines; most Republicans support the drilling, most Democrats oppose it, most younger voters oppose it, most older voters support it, etc.
The bottom line is, the polarization is most understandable, and I agree Alaska, which has long been a staunch Republican state traditionally, does lean very much in support of the drilling.
But this brings me back to one of my main points. This IS a national debate because this is not merely about environmental politics, it's about sustainability as well.
The big oil companies and the Bush Administration in particular are using the ANWR token as a red herring, an excuse to that we can continue to hold off on contemplating ideas as we approach the inevitable; the time of "peak oil", and our natural resource strongholds begin to dry up worldwide.
We ought to be working to prepare for a "post-petroleum economy" (it's not to say an economy totally free of oil, but one where we can assure our children and our children's children that there will be plenty of resources available to them in the near future, because we had the ability to sit down, discuss, and plan and prepare for a more sustainable economy for the future.
The drive to drilling in ANWR is distracting this crucial dialogue from formulating, it's putting us back in that "naive comfort zone" that ANWR is the answer to all our energy independence prayers, when there's much evidence as it is pointing the other way.
This is one issue I love talking long hours about, but for now I'm off to celebrate Christmas, yay! A most very merriest Christmas to you too, my friend!
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"