Picture/Poem Icon December 2001:                      
suggested link

Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge

featured onthe Sierra Club

"...the last place in North America where the
full spectrum of arctic life is protected in
one seamless expanse."

From the Sierra Club website . . .

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

"The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of America's greatest natural treasures.
The 19 million-acre Refuge harbors an unparalleled diversity of wildlife. Encompassing
an entire mountain range cross-section, it is the last place in North America where the
full spectrum of arctic life is protected in one seamless expanse.

Nestled between the Brooks Mountain Range and the shores of the Beaufort Sea
in remote northeast Alaska, the narrow 1.5 million-acre coastal plain of the Refuge is
the biological heart of this untamed wilderness.

Unfortunately, it has also been targeted for drilling and industrial development by
the oil industry and its allies in Congress. But, there is a growing citizen action campaign
to protect the coastal plain as part of the national Wilderness Preservation System and
permanently shield it from the relentless attacks of the multinational oil companies."

Sierra Club Artic National Wildlie Refuge Slideshow

"The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is an amazing and inspiring place. Visitors
tell of its stunning vistas, unique wildlife and untouched landscape. Scientist snote
the importance of the refuge as habitat for hundreds of species and the crucial role
it plays in Alaska's web of life. The Gwich'in – native Alaskans who live nearby –
depend on the Caribou that give birth in the refuge for food, clothing and spiritual
sustenance. And the refuge is also an important part of American's heritage.

But despite the value of the Arctic Refuge – to people, wildlife and posterity –
President Bush has announced that he intends to open the area to
oil drilling
. [bold ed.] Doing so would be an unconscionable mistake: Just as
we would not flood the Grand Canyon for hydropower or cap Old Faithful for
steam, we must not drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." [...]

"Of course, those who are in favor claim that new "environmentally-friendly"
techniques will reduce the impact. But in Alaska we've learned that you cannot drill
for oil without spilling oil. And if nearby Prudhoe Bay is any indication, drilling
for oil in the refuge will surely destroy it.

Prudhoe Bay oil fields generate twice as much air pollution as Washington DC and
the area suffers over 400 spills a year of oil or oil-related pollution. In February, a
BP Amoco facility dumped thousands of gallons of oil into the environment. In J
anuary, 20,000 gallons of drilling "mud" – a petroleum-based lubricant used for
drilling – spilled from one of Prudhoe Bay's newest facilities."

(See also Green Peace video documentary [c. 4 1/2'] on a similar theme.)
(requires RealAudio. To download a free player, go to http://www.real.com/)

Other related links . . .

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

"The push is on to allow oil drilling in the priceless heart of the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge, a national treasure that President Eisenhower protected a generation
ago. The pristine Refuge teems with wildlife. There is no place like it anywhere
else in America.

We are hearing grim talk that meeting our energy needs requires us to sacrifice
a unique landscape of birds and flowers, bears and caribou.

That is a false choice. We can have affordable energy without disturbing a
spectacularly beautiful land with oil drilling and all its fumes, noise and toxic

Greater fuel efficiency, technological advances and renewable energy can free
us from foreign oil, while protecting our American heritage. What could be more
sensible? What could be more conservative/"

And from The Wilderness Society

Wild Alaska: Take An Arctic Journey

"The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, located off the coast of the Beaufort Sea
on Alaska's north shore, is prized for its wilderness and wildlife. It is also coveted
by multi-national oil companies for its possible oil reserves. The Wilderness Society
is working to set this area off limits to oil development, and protect its most precious
resource: Wilderness. John Dunne spent the summer of 1999 in the Arctic Refuge,
taking photos of the landscape and the wildlife in order to complete his master's in
photojournalism from the University of Missouri. John spent some three months in
the Refuge. Come journey with him!" [...]

Artic Slideshow: photos John Dunne

And also from The Wilderness Society, a magnificent map of the area:

America's Serengeti

"Known as "America's Serengeti," Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, with
its windswept tundra and glaciered mountains, is among the world's last truly pristine
wild places and one of the largest sanctuaries for Arctic animals on the planet. The coastal
plain of the refuge is traversed by a dozen rivers and framed by the jagged peaks of
spectacular mountains. This spectacular wilderness is a vital birthing ground for polar
bears, grizzlies, Arctic wolves, the vast Porcupine herd of 130,000 caribou, and the highly
endangered shaggy musk ox, a mammoth-like survivor of the last Ice Age.

The Bush administration has promised to open up the Arctic Refuge to oil drilling that
would turn this world-class treasure into a polluted oil field. The House of Representatives
handed the administration a major boost to its plan in early August when it passed energy
legislation that includes a provision allowing drilling in the refuge. Now the fight has
moved to the Senate, where a handful of determined senators, backed by the White House,
are using the tragic events of September 11th to argue that national security requires
Congress to rush a pro-drilling energy bill into law.

But America cannot drill its way to energy independence. In fact, the government's own
estimates show the Arctic Refuge holds just a 180-day supply of oil, which would take
at least 10 years to reach consumers. By contrast, raising automobile fuel efficiency by
only three miles per gallon would save more oil in a decade than could ever be recovered
from the refuge."

Arctic Refuge: Finance Bill Targeted for Oil Drilling Amendment

"With a Congressional Recess now unlikely to begin until mid-December, the threat
of energy legislation this session is imminent. It now appears Arctic drilling proponents
will attempt to piggy back an Arctic drilling amendment on the economic stimulus
package being considered by the Senate Finance Committee. This bill may be considered
on the floor as early as next week.

Sen. Murkowski (R-AK) appears committed to pushing for energy amendment to the
economic stimulus bill. Republican support in the Finance Committee for such an
amendment appears weak. The posturing has been pretty ferocious on the Republican
side with Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) as much as promising that the Republicans will filibuster
the Democrats stimulus next week.

Arctic Refuge: Sen. Smith Makes More Strong Statements in Opposition to Arctic
Refuge Drilling

"Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) made some of his strongest statements yet in opposition
to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. While Speaking on the Sheila Hamilton
show on KPAM, a Portland radio station, Sen. Smith was asked about where he stands
on drilling." [...]

And lastly, unrelated, but interesting. . .

Afghan farmers resume planting opium poppies

http://enn.com/ Monday, November 26, 2001
By Chris Tomlinson, AP

"SORKHUD, Afghanistan--Gul Haidar smiled as he sifted some seeds through his
fingers, happy he had planted the one crop that should ensure his family's welfare
next year -- opium poppies.

In pencil-thin, spiraling furrows dug with a homemade plow pulled by oxen, Haidar
has sown the tiny, pale specks that will yield flowers in four months. When the petals
fall, buyers will come for the seed pods and its opium resin. 

The Pashto-speaking farmer expects to triple what he had made from the winter wheat
he had planted the last three seasons. 

With the Taliban no longer around to enforce a three-year ban on poppy-growing,
hundreds of farmers near the eastern city of Jalalabad -- their appetite for profit sharpened
by years of drought and hardship -- have resumed planting what they call "narcotic." [...] 

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