Thursday, November 10, 2005

House Freezes Arctic Drilling

In order to secure passage of a $54 billion budget-cutting bill already approved by the Senate, GOP leaders in the House agreed to scrap a measure that would allow drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Washington Post: GOP to Strike Arctic Drilling From House Bill). Moderates in the House also received assurances that the drilling would not be reinstated when House and Senate negotiators meet to define the bill that will make its way to the President's desk.

With at least a 30-year supply of oil sitting under the frozen tundra, this move makes absolutely no sense. Oil demand throughout the world - not just in the US - is increasing dramatically. Not taking advantage of a ready supply under our own soil is pure stupidity.

ANWR is an undeveloped wasteland. I've been there. The scenery is quite beautiful, but it is a wasteland. At issue with environmentalists is the presence of the Porcupine Caribou herd during the Arctic summer. The caribou make their way from northern Canada across the foothills of the Brooks Range and out onto the coastal plain in northern Alaska every year. Environmentalists worry that drilling in the Arctic will disrupt that yearly migration.

We the people purchased Alaska from Russia, not a herd of caribou. Until we succeed in developing an alternate fuel source, we need the oil that sits beneath the arctic. The caribou will adapt or they will change their migratory habits. As long as we gain access to the resources in our own country, I really don't care which. My love of wildlife ends when wildlife suddenly has more status than people, and right now the caribou are in the way.

If we don't plan on doing anything with Alaska, then do us a favor and sell it back to Russia. At least then we'll be able to purchase that expanded supply of oil rather than see it go to waste; untapped while our energy costs soar. In the meantime, I have some great recipes for caribou steaks if anyone wants them.


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