President Barack Obama said Sunday that he planned to ask Congress to declare much of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness, including its 1.5-million-acre coastal plain, an area on Alaska’s North Slope suspected to contain vast reserves of oil and gas.
The designation would forever prevent exploration and production on the coastal plain, but Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said the idea would be dead on arrival in the Republican-led Congress.
[snip] Murkowski and the rest of the state’s congressional delegation, along with Gov. Bill Walker, reacted strongly to the symbolism in the administration’s announcement. In a joint statement, they said the move -- and two other anticipated announcements involving offshore drilling in the Arctic and development in National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska -- amounted to “declaring war on Alaska’s future."
The environmentalists love to publish pictures showing what a lovely, paradisaical place the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is. And you know what? 99.99 percent of them have never visited the place. It's uninhabitated (with very minor exceptions).
But the truth is something far different.
In summer, it's a tundra- and muskeg-covered swamp. In the winter (and winters are long, that far north of the Arctic Circle) it's a snow-covered plain.
Yes, one of the largest arctic herds of caribou cross it in the seasonal migrations. But oil wells and pipelines are now proven to attract wildlife, rather than stifle it.
Proven how? By 40 years of history of oil development and shipping on the Alaska's north slope.
|Yes, those are caribou on the North Slope, a half-mile from an oil well.|