Save the land for the birds

The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge is once again under attack by the current administration. Congress is apparently trying to open up the refuge to drilling as a part of the tax package that cannot be filibustered.

They are claiming that this will raise $1 billion to $5 billion in revenue, which would somehow help pay for the tax breaks to billionaires created by the new legislation. These numbers assume leasing revenues that are 40 times greater than historical averages, and ignore the current oil glut.

At this time, nearly all of the Alaska North Slope is potentially open to oil exploration. This includes the National Petroleum Reserve (24.2 million acres) and Alaska state lands around Prudhoe Bay. The new legislation focuses on the “2001” lands (1.5 million acres) that cover about 80 miles of the Arctic coastal plain.

The refuge is prime nesting ground for more than 200 species of birds that migrate from all 50 states and six continents to nest here. Oil and birds do not mix. Last week’s spill in the gulf of 9,350 barrels of oil was the largest since the 2010 BP disaster. The Arctic offers much harsher conditions, including recent thawing of large areas of permafrost, making any development very risky.

We don’t need this oil. Clean energy is both cheaper and more reliable. Let’s stop subsidizing big oil and follow the economics.

Please call your senators and representatives and ask them to save the 2001 lands for the birds.

– Dan Streiffert

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