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- The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -
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Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
is a 19.6 million acre wildlife sanctuary in Northeast Alaska, and
truly is a crown jewel of America's refuge system. The WILDLIFE REFUGE
covered in rivers, beautiful mountain ranges, diverse wildlife, lagoons
and tundra ranging from the
foothills of the
Brooks Range north to the icy Beaufort Sea.
The coastal plain region is the most ecologically fragile portion of
the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge, and is under attack from the
shit-for-brains who are in charge of the companies who run our
government. Strangely enough, major oil companies are mostly
uninterested in Mr. Bush's grand drilling scheme for the Wildlife
Refuge, as they are realistically skeptical of the potential for viable
Translated for Mr.
Bush=LET GET TO DRILLING!
But he could not be more wrong. Drilling for oil in ANWAR is NOT the
answer to our energy crisis,
rather yet another poorly-hatched, Bush-backed boner of an idea.
Bush's plan to poison/ruin the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would
NOT significantly reduce U.S. dependance on foreign oil, and
it would not shield us from short-term volatility in the world's oil
markets. It IS a step in the wrong direction to think that
drilling for oil in the last largest wilderness would solve any
What the US really needs is real leadership; pushing conservation,
fuel-efficiency mandates, real money spent on renewable energy
development and becoming a global player once again in
addressing Global Climate Change.
History: (not to be forgotten)
In 1957, then Secretary of the Interior Fred Seaton, set aside 8.9
million acreas of coastal plain and mountains as the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge, to protect its "unique wildlife, wilderness and
He simoultaneously separated 20
million acres of
the North Slope of Alaska for commercial oil and gas leasing. Even in
1957, oil companies had over 100% more land dedicated to their needs
than the wildlife was given. But ever since the designations of these
vast expanses, oil companies have been asking for more, more more.
(Read more at the Defenders
Oil spills are nasty, they are very hard to clean up and they happen
much more frequently than most folks imagine.
Counter to Karl Rove's
macheivellian outlook, most Americans know that drilling in the
American Serengeti is a bad, bad idea.
Caribou, polar bears, migratory
birds, grizzly bears, muskoxen and Arctic wolves all rely on this area for
their very survival, (which is one of the many reasons why the area is
a NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE.
(For those whom do not understand what a wildlife refuge is: it is NOT
exploration zone, its not where you would find a McDonalds, or an Exxon
fuel station, but rather, open space, untainted by development, oil
rigs, sonar trucks and roads. It is an area where nature and all things
wild are allowed to be left alone, unmolested by siesmic exploration
trucks, oil spills, slag ponds and trash.)
But Mr. Bush and the corporations that he represents, all want to open
up this WILDLIFE REFUGE to OIL DRILLING and EXPLORATION.
For what? For roughly ONE YEAR of US oil production.
remove the wilderness character it is gone. Once corporations cut
roads, install sewage plants, drilling pads, pipelines and
housing, the area is forever scarred and wildlife is immediately
and negatively impacted.
The Bush-Cheney war machine wants to ruin U.S. public lands. Extracting
oil from the coastal
plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could take ten years or
more to bring to market a six month supply of oil. This is assinine.
This is one Bushfuct idea.
Map maker and now legendary, Ian Thomas, made detailed maps of the
habits of Caribou in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Well, he did that until Gale Norton found out that his maps were
telling the truth, ... a truth counter to the Bush Backasswards Energy
Ian Thomas, you are a hero for telling the truth, for not blinking in
the face of a corrupt and evil corporate sellout like Gale Norton.
For more info on the map that cost Ian Thomas his job at the USGS, see
the article: Area
"I would very much like access to use any new research data on
wildlife in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Specifically I am very
interested in the new caribou distribution data that was apparently
shown to the Secretary of the Department of Interior, Gale Norton,
sometime around Friday 18 March, just after I put my caribou maps onto
the Internet. I believe that it is essential that everybody be given
free access to this important information at the earliest opportunity.
If somebody could please file a Freedom of Information Act request to
get this new caribou distribution data, that would be great!
The migration of the Porcupine Caribou herd to and from its calving
grounds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of Nature's
greatest wonders. If we, the richest country on the planet, fail to act
to protect this, one of our most precious expressions of biodiversity,
what hope is there for any other natural park around the World? And
what kind of example are we setting to other nations? I know for a fact
that many of the remaining unique and important areas for global
biodiversity are also, unfortunately, sitting on top of unexploited
oil, diamonds or other mineral resources."
In February of 2005, over one thousand scientists called upon President
Bush to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil
Over 1,000 scientists wrote a collaborative letter to the president and
confirmed that drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would
So, how did the president respond to this massive statement?
He wrote more money in his new budget proposal calling for leasing the
coastal plain Arctic Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas companies.
Mr. Bush, a president by and for the corporations at the cost of the
Sacking of Science at the Department of the Interior
By JAMIE RAPPAPORT CLARK, Jamie Rappaport Clark, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service director in the Clinton administration, is senior vice
president for conservation programs at the National Wildlife Federation
WASHINGTON -- At her Senate confirmation hearing, Interior Secretary
Gale A. Norton swore that she would use "the best scientific evidence"
in making decisions as the steward of the nation's wildlife and wild
places. But a disturbing pattern is undermining the secretary's
Among the most flagrant examples was how she handled a request for
information from Sen. Frank H. Murkowski (R-Alaska).
The senator had asked Norton several questions about the proposed
opening of the "1002 Area," or coastal plain, of the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge to oil development. Appropriately, Norton turned to her
professional staff at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages
the Arctic refuge, to prepare written responses, based on the best
scientific evidence, to his questions. Then she wrote the senator. But
Norton's letter did not faithfully report her staff's findings. In
referring to the 130,000-strong Porcupine caribou herd that has become
a symbol of the refuge, Norton's letter said that "concentrated calving
occurred primarily outside the 1002 Area in 11 of the past 18 years."
Flat wrong. As her
staff told her, there have been "calving
concentrations within the 1002 Area for 27 out of the last 30 years."
Norton went on to inform Murkowski, then chairman of the Committee on
Energy and Natural Resources, that "data do not support the hypothesis
that oil fields adversely affect caribou productivity." Her answer ignored the
evidence supplied by her own staff.
That evidence shows that reproductive pauses--the years in which
females do not produce calves--are longer in areas around oil
development in Prudhoe Bay, just west of the Arctic refuge, than in
The secretary asserted in another section of the letter that there is
no evidence of harm to caribou from oil exploration on Native American
lands within the Arctic refuge's coastal plain. Again, she failed to
acknowledge, as her staff informed her, that "no studies were
conducted" to determine such effects. Norton included in her letter
some pro-drilling information culled from a report sponsored by BP
Her spokesman claimed the information had been reviewed by peers. But
no such review took place.
When Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility revealed these
and other discrepancies in the letter, and reporters asked Norton about
them, she explained, "We did make a mistake."
It's not the mistakes themselves that are disturbing. Rather, it's
their pattern and seeming bias.
The secretary says it is her "responsibility" and that of her
department "to show that [Arctic refuge oil development] can be done in
an environmentally responsible way."
True, if she were employed by the oil industry. But she's not.
As Interior secretary, her responsibility is to provide the best
scientific information on whether or not drilling is compatible with
the Arctic environment. Norton has said that the Bush administration
supports Arctic drilling legislation that will "impose the strictest
possible environmental standards."
Yet, in light of how the secretary herself describes her
responsibility, it's troubling to know that such standards would be
largely determined by Norton.
According to an analysis of the administration-supported House energy
bill and its Arctic drilling provisions by the nonpartisan
Congressional Research Service, "Many decisions relating to the
protection of the fish and wildlife resources of the refuge, and the
protection of the environment in general, would be committed to the
discretion of the secretary, whose choices would be difficult to
challenge under the strict standards for judicial review in the House
In essence, the House bill's approach to Arctic well-being amounts to
trust Secretary Norton. That's hardly reassuring.
Norton's pattern of misstatements and omissions extends beyond Arctic
She moved to overturn plans to return grizzly bears to the Northern
Rockies wilderness on patently political grounds, without even asking
for scientific advice.
Eight of the nation's top wildlife-science organizations have said her
"no action" grizzly plan directly contradicts the best scientific
Similarly, she's advanced a proposal to alter migratory-bird hunting
regulations--at the urging of powerful political allies--without regard
for scientific input or standard procedures that permit detailed
In another, still unexplained action, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
comments highly critical of proposed rules for removing mountain tops
for coal mining were suddenly withdrawn. The withdrawal followed
objections from the U.S. Office of Surface Mining, an agency also under
Norton's supervision, but far more sympathetic to mining interests.
Trusting Secretary Norton is difficult when it increasingly appears
that scientific information generated by the Interior Department is
impeded or ignored when it runs counter to the political outcomes the
secretary supports. The pattern has prompted several leading
environmental organizations to ask the Senate to hold hearings on the
possible ethical and legal implications of Norton's conduct,
specifically concerning the apparent distortions of scientific findings
in her letter to Murkowski. The Senate should seriously consider the
request. Meanwhile, as they consider the fate of the Arctic refuge,
senators would do well to question any advice provided by Norton. Given
her penchant for misstatement and for misrepresenting her
responsibility, the evidence shows that the secretary's pro-drilling
arguments must not be accepted on faith.