Editor, Daily Nexus:
The Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of the last unspoiled areas left in the United States, is a national treasure that should not be opened for oil and gas drilling. But multinational oil companies – led by BP and ExxonMobil – and their friends in Congress are promoting legislation that would turn America’s premier birthing ground for polar bears, caribou, wolves and other wildlife into a vast, polluted oil field.
The Arctic Refuge is also sacred to the Gwich’in people. The Gwich’in, which means “people of the caribou,” have lived in and around the refuge for thousands of years. Oil drilling will damage the coastal plain’s environment and jeopardize one of the last native subsistence cultures in North America.
Oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge will damage this incredible resource, yet would do virtually nothing to solve our energy problems. At current rates of consumption, there is enough oil in the Arctic Refuge to last the U.S. for about six months.
What we need is an energy policy that focuses more on energy efficiency and renewable resources than on ruining some of the last unspoiled areas left in the U.S. We have plenty of oil rigs – and plenty of pollution from the burning of fossil fuels – but there is only one Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It should be preserved, not plundered.