Republicans Say ‘Hell No’ to Wildlife Refuge Proposal
President Barack Obama is angering Republicans (again) in the name of the environment (again). This time it’s with his new proposal to designate 12.3 million acres of Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as a wilderness area. You may ask yourself, why is this upsetting Republicans? It’s because within this land lays approximately 10.3 billion barrels of petroleum.
The President made the proposal Monday by urging Congress to protect the land, which is one of the most diverse ecosystems left on the planet. This would make it the largest declared wilderness area in the nation’s history, and spare countless animals from the dangers of sharing their backyard with an oil field. The ANWR is home to 36 species of fish, caribou, birds, grizzly bears, black bears, and polar bears, just to name a few. In addition to housing such species, this region also provides calving grounds, nesting grounds for migrating animals, and denning sites.
Despite the region’s wildlife, oil supporters (i.e. Republicans) are not happy about the proposal. Representative Don Young (R-Alaska) said Obama’s plan is like “spitting in our faces and telling us it’s raining.” U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) stated, “They’ve decided that today was the day that they were going to declare war on Alaska.” The Republican governor of Alaska commented that the proposal is “an unprecedented assault on Alaska.”
The Obama administration recognized oil drilling can be done safely, but said, “The Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge, one of the few remaining places in the country as pristine today as it was when the oldest Alaska Native communities first set eyes on it, is too precious to put at risk.” Plus, there is less need for more oil sources these days because of the surplus in reserves, not to mention, the increase in greener forms of energy production. So, it doesn’t make sense to risk so much for a resource that isn’t as valuable anymore.
It’s unlikely that Congress will pass this proposal when it’s concentrating on other bills (and blocking Obama’s ideas). However, the plan itself is something that should be appreciated as it has the potential to preserve millions of acres of untouched land. Hopefully in the future that will be a priority of all politicians.
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