Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Over the last five years, I've been visiting a lot of wildlife refuges. I have discovered that each one is unique and special. While there are animals that live in each one year round, they are often places of refuge for migratory species.

Almost 20 years ago we visited Alaska and covered a lot of territory. We went before the road to Prudhoe Bay was opened for all traffic. But I was amazed and impressed at how truly Alaska is one of our last truly wilderness areas. We had almost two full weeks in Alaska and we covered a lot of ground.

I received an email recently that seemed to me to be a very simplified explanation of why it would not hurt anything for us to drill at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We've got some relatives up there and I've heard via the grapevine that the drilling along the North Slope is not a problem for the caribou - they come in droves to feed right next to the drilling rigs. I've seen the Alaska pipeline - and while they were building it I'm sure it disrupted some wildlife - it is quiet and has served its purpose to transport oil with a minimal amount of long term disruption to the flora and fauna. But maintaining water quality and wilderness areas are also parts of this equation.

Each of the wildlife refuges we visit has been set aside usually for one or more species - many times they are endangered or were when the refuge was established.

Before we get too caught up in the "Drill, baby, drill" hype, I hope that this blog will encourage my readers to explore the website for
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." Browse through the pages, see what is there, see what is being preserved, see the results of the studies from the seismic testing done in the 1980's. Just the passage of the seismic testing vehicles (not even a road) has left a lasting path in many places. Most of us will not ever get to visit Alaska. I don't know if I'll ever get to go back. But I think those of us in the lower 48 ought to at least understand what we're disturbing and the risks we're taking when we start developing oil rigs in this sensitive habitat.

Perhaps we must drill . . . but I for one hate to lose another roadless, pristine wilderness area when I think we need to be exploring how we're going to meet our energy needs when the world's oil is finally depleted.


Lazy Trainer said...

Excellent point to consider.

Lazy Trainer said...

Oops, how about pointS?

tws1615 said...

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