A Great Loss
by Joe Hoeffel, Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 12:23:48 PM EST
Everybody that cares about the environment has to be outraged by the Senate vote today that gave the green light to drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. This drilling is unnecessary, would produce at best only a few months worth of additional oil supply for America, and would certainly destroy a pristine and beautiful Artic wilderness that until now has been protected by Congress.
Active exploration and drilling for oil has occurred on the north slope of Alaska for many years. Prudhoe Bay and ANWR are both on the north slope. 95% of the north slope is open to oil exploration, only 5% (the coastal plain of ANWR) is currently protected. We should keep it protected -- for the animals, for the birds, for us, for the wildness of it.
Several years ago my wife Francesca and I camped in a river valley of ANWR then flew over the ANWR coastal plain, where the drilling would occur, on our way to visit Prudhoe Bay. Simply put, ANWR is beautiful, Prudhoe Bay is ugly.
Drilling for oil -- the roads, rigs, buildings and pipes -- despoils the environment, plain and simple.
Every Pennsylvanian should be angry that our two U.S. Senators voted to approve drilling in ANWR. We need leaders who will fight to protect our environment, in Alaska and at home.
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