Alaska’s Arctic national wildlife refuge, 80 miles east of Prudhoe Bay could generate $1bn over 10 years once it’s opened to oil leasing. Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski and her Republican colleagues slipped this drilling provision into the Senate Republican tax bill.
Murkowski repeatedly says this development would cover just 2,000 acres, “about one ten-thousandth of ANWR”. The acronym ANWR conveniently deletes the words “wildlife” and “refuge”, with no regard for the polar bears, Arctic fox, musk oxen and migratory ground-nesting birds that come there every summer, some species from as far away as Patagonia. The development would in fact be a spider web of roads, pipelines, well pads and landing strips smack in the middle of the biological heart of the refuge. It would look less like a refuge and more like Prudhoe Bay, where thousands of spills have been reported.
Alaska’s lieutenant governor, Byron Mallott, has said that drilling in ANWR is necessary to deal with climate change. His logic: we need to drill for more oil to raise money to address a problem that’s caused by humanity’s addiction to oil.
Why not just say the truth? We want the money. Alaskan politicians have been trying to drill here for decades, using one crazy rationale after another.