This just in. The Senate failed to overcome a filibuster threat, and has agreed to withdraw the ANWR drilling provision from the defense bill. Another last-second save for the Arctic National Wildlife refuge. More details here.
How many times have we been through this already? It feels like every other week we have to beat back another attempt to convert the refuge to an oilfield. Why is this so important?
I am one of the few people who can testify in the first person as to why. I spent 10 weeks camped on the refuge on a bird study, back in 1985. It is truly one of the remarkable places of the planet. For a few weeks in the summer, it is a lush environment full of birdlife. It is the last place in the entire continent where the original landscape is intact from ocean edge to mountain crest.
Oil development, no matter how carefully done, will mar and rip asunder this last great place. Oilpads may not take up much acreage, but they still need roads and pipes to connect them. The gravel to build them has to come from someplace, namely streambeds. These riparian areas were where all the life was in our bird studies. The propaganda about the infinitesimal fragment of the refuge to be directly impacted is a little like saying that a loose drift net, because the net filaments take up so little space, have an equally negligible impact on ocean sealife.
I have a memoir of my time in ANWR posted at https://www.dougplummer.com/anwr/anwr.html