Letters to the Editor, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017

Protect refuge from oil drilling Last week was National Wildlife Refuges Week, celebrating the system of protected and managed areas established over 100 years ago. Ironically, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the largest and last untrammeled wilderness left in the country, is again under urgent threat from oil drilling. The Arctic Refuge is home to the largest caribou herd in this hemisphere and to iconic arctic animals including bears, wolves and musk oxen. The winter migrations south of 100 nesting species of birds connect the refuge with Florida and account for considerable annual input to our economy by nature lovers and snowbirds. Soon, the Senate may vote to open most of the coastal plain of the refuge to oil exploration and drilling using the budget reconciliation process, which bypasses the open debate and legislation normally expected with such a major decision. Why is there a push for drilling in the refuge? There are huge areas already open for oil leasing and production across the North Slope of Alaska and the global drop in crude oil demand and prices makes the inflated projections for returns on the sale of oil leases highly speculative. The unwarranted destruction of our last and largest remaining wilderness by opening it to oil production serves the short-term needs of a few and ignores the changes that are rapidly overtaking our huge energy economy. The Senate should immediately remove the Arctic Refuge from the budget reconciliation process and work over the longer term to protect this unique and valuable… [Read full story]

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