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"Environmentalist" Deceit on ANWR By: Andrew Walden
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, November 14, 2005

American petro-dollars continue flowing to terrorist-sponsoring oil producing states and American soldiers fight in what leftists call a “war for oil” in Iraq.  In spite of this, Congressional debate on oil drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) is once again going down to the wire. 

A group of 24 “moderate” Republican congressmen mostly from North East states joined Democrats on November 9 in stripping the House Budget Bill of a provision opening ANWR to drilling after hordes of home-district “environmental” activists lobbied them at their Washington offices.  Senators, on the other hand, have voted 51-47 November 3 against the so-called “Cantwell Amendment” – thus keeping ANWR drilling authorization in their budget bill.  The two conflicting versions now go to conference to be reconciled; President Bush has pledged to sign authorization for ANWR drilling should a bill reach his desk.

Left-wing activists who claim that the liberation of Iraq is really a “war for oil” are doing everything they can to prevent oil and gas drilling in ANWR or anywhere else within the United States.  Many in the media are busy asserting that Alaskan Natives oppose ANWR drilling and that drilling poses a grave danger to Alaskan caribou herds.  Neither of these statements is true.

A typical example of media deceit on ANWR is this quote from MSNBC:


“Congress could soon approve drilling in the refuge, a move opposed by environmentalists who along with Inupiat Eskimos also oppose offshore arctic development because of possible risks to migrating whales and other wildlife.”


This passage strongly implies that the Inupiat are opposed to drilling ANWR—this is false.  The Inupiat oppose only offshore drilling, which is not currently technically feasible in the ANWR area.  Their support for ANWR on-shore drilling is explained on the website of the city of Kaktovik, AK (population 286)--the only human settlement in ANWR:


 “The essence of the Kaktovik position is that we would support oil exploration and development of the coastal plain provided we are given the authority and the resources to ensure that it is done properly and safely. Without the necessary provisions to ensure this protection, we would not.”


Leftists point to one of the very few native groups to oppose drilling—the Gwich’in—but do not note that they are located hundreds of miles south of ANWR on the other side of the Brooks Range.  The majority of Gwich’in live in Canada.  Another native group opposing oil drilling in ANWR is the native city of Point Hope, AK—700 miles from ANWR.  The vast majority of Alaskan Native corporations support drilling as do the vast majority of Alaskans.


In Hawaii, where activists are working feverishly to reverse the two key pro-ANWR-drilling votes of Hawaii Democrat Senators Akaka and Inouye (pledged in exchange for Alaska Senators Stevens and Murkowski for the Akaka Bill, which would tribalize Native Hawaiians as Native Alaskans and American Indians), the Honolulu Weekly criticizes pro-drilling Alaskan Natives as “corporate”, denouncing one Native group as “the largest landowner in South East Alaska.” Other leftists denounce Hawaiian activists who accept Alaska-based funding.    Apparently the only “real” Natives are the ones who line up with environmentalist dogma.  In Alaska and Hawaii, ethnicity is being transformed into a political position.  


Media accounts of ANWR feature photos of caribou and musk oxen frolicking in fields of wildflowers.  The Artic slope looks like this for about one month of the year.  A more realistic image of harsh ANWR environment can be found in the photo galleries of the Kaktovik, AK city website.


The Sierra Club claims that, “the harm to wildlife and this spectacular wilderness would be permanent and irreparable.”  ANWR is 19 million acres – larger than Massachusetts, New Jersey, Hawaii, Connecticut and Delaware combined. If oil is found, less than 2,000 acres would be directly affected.


Caribou herds in Alaska’s existing North Slope drilling areas have actually increased in size since drilling began.  Caribou around the Prudhoe Bay oilfield increased from about 3,000 in the 1970s to over 32,000 today.  The Porcupine herd, which occupies the ANWR areas currently blocked from drilling, decreased in the same period.  If they were truly concerned about the caribou, logically the Sierra Club should be demanding more drilling, not less.


Since most Alaskan Native groups support drilling and wildlife actually are doing better in the drilling areas, what is the real "environmental" goal?


Their agenda is revealed in the “Earth Charter”, endorsed by the Sierra Club and many other so-called environmentalists, which reads: "the dominant patterns of production and consumption are causing environmental devastation.”  In other words, they want to destroy the free enterprise system and replace it with a system thatPromote(s) the equitable distribution of wealth within nations and among nations” – in other words, socialism.


In order to destroy free enterprise, the eco-socialists are using false arguments about Alaskan natives, false images of life in ANWR and false claims about the effect of oil drilling on wildlife.  Their real goal and its affect on the day-to-day life of millions of humans is contained in the preamble to the Earth Charter which reads:  when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more.”


In a first world context this leads to recession and unemployment.  In a third world context this leads to poverty disease and starvation.  The only way forward for humanity and the environment is through economic development and improved technology.  Prosperity leads to improved human health and also to improved natural environments.  Poverty damages both.  By pushing poverty-creating policies, the so called “environmentalists” are actually damaging the environment.  For them, socialism is more important than the environment they claim to protect.


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